Let's be honest--the pressure to have a perfect happy life at the holidays (or even just seem like you do!) can make this time depressing, anxiety-ridden and downright painful for some of us. If you already have everything on your holiday list, hooray for you! But even then, the holidays can stir up feelings of emptiness and desire for deeper meaning in your life.  And for those perfectionistic high achievers out there, maybe you had thought that achieving external success in your career, in relationships and financially, would make you finally deep down feel worthwhile.  But it hasn't worked all that well, which can make you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression at this time of year! And along with the holidays often comes more time with family which can sometimes also be the source of added pressure to be happy and make the holidays live up to the holiday card picture. When we gather with family, when everyone has big expectations, often we can revert back into the ro

Big Confusing Feelings

Any of us can feel overwhelmed at times by waves of strong feelings. At those times, we may not be able to think clearly (it is a scientific fact) and can only respond in a flight or fight mode until we are able to calm down and breathe.   Then the more logical part of our brain can reflect on our feelings—take a step back and evaluate if our feelings in the moment and any intense reactions on our part may have been unfair, overly harsh or critical or attacking of those around us.   We may then get flooded with feelings of shame and embarrassment and become devaluing of ourselves.   It can become a vicious and unproductive cycle.   We can also become overwhelmed by big feelings while we are alone, plagued by negative thoughts about ourselves and our life—in a sense we are usually beating ourselves up in those moments and have a very distorted view of ourselves.   Often these negative messages have been around for a long time and usually arise from dynamics in our families as we grew