The psychology of emotions at Christmas
Christmas is a time of the year full of experiences, full of magic and illusion. All these experiences involve emotions in adults and children. Although at first we all associate Christmas with positive emotions, it also entails negative emotions. Christmas is a time of great emotions because the experiences are more intense.
Emotions at Christmas
The First time experience is emotionally very intense and for this reason it is remembered more easily. The best Christmas memories often evoke our childhood. The experiences are the same, but what makes them more intense are the emotions. Children have the opportunity to experience Christmas with the magic of the first time, and that makes them discover very special and intense novel emotions.
At Christmas it is common to experience many types of emotions, some positive: joy, excitement, surprise, love ... and other negatives: sadness for those who are not, disappointment at not fulfilling expectations, frustration when these dates end, etc. Children also experience these emotions and do it more intensely.
At Christmas, emotions on the surface
The expectation for gifts, the experience of Christmas symbols, family dinners and meals, the kisses and hugs of family, friends and loved ones, the parade of kings ... are the many events that can generate intense emotions at Christmas . The most common are these:
1. Joy and illusion for the reunion with the family, for the gifts, etc.
2. Sadness due to absences, When a family member can no longer be with us, the children also experience sadness.
3. Angered Holidays and Christmas are a break with the routines of children, they get used to doing what they want and when we set limits they get angry. The anger usually contrasts with the positive and idyllic emotions of the moment.
4. Frustration, when your expectations are not met. Sometimes, they expect many gifts and do not have what they want.
5. Jealousy. At Christmas we meet with other family members and other children of the family appear, sometimes the children may feel jealous because of the attention received by the other children.
6. Apathy, sadness, and discouragement at the end of the holidays and having to resume the daily routine.
The emotional contrast characteristic of Christmas
Emotions are something natural that emerges in people, both positive and negative. It is normal to experience emotions and all of them fulfill their function. But in the Christmas season there is a curious process that affects adults as well as children.
At Christmas we have very intense emotions and there is often a great emotional contrast and a rollercoaster ride, which can leave us emotionally exhausted.
Negative emotions, are amplified, before the obligation to feel especially good in an idyllic time.
Tips to manage emotions at Christmas
1. Try to keep your routines.Even if you do different and special things and even if we have celebrations, it is important to maintain certain routines as much as possible. By removing the indicated days or the day that we have a scheduled activity or celebration, we keep (more or less) the schedules of going to bed, meals, etc.
2. Express your emotions and help them express theirs. Emotions are something natural and are part of people. It is good to express them and to name what happens to us inside.
3. Look for activities that help everyone to disconnect and relax like outdoor walks, readings, watch a movie.
4. Remember with joy those who are and help your children remember them like that.
5. Pay attention to your jealousy. When there are several children at home we should try to avoid attitudes on our part that feed jealousy and dedicate time and space to each child. In the case that jealousy appears, sometimes it is inevitable, we will treat it naturally, we will avoid forcing them to repress them.
6. Be patient with everyone these days and do not skimp on signs of affection.
Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in pedagogy and child and youth psychology. Director of Educa and Learn. Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes.
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