Savour end-of-the-year bittersweet emotions | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Savour end-of-the-year bittersweet emotions

BySonali Gupta
Nov 28, 2023 07:46 AM IST

November and December are also the time when a lot of new clients reach out in therapy to discuss family dynamics, partnerships, burnout and repurposing. There is a surge in the number of people wanting to do the deep work, to resolve issues that have lingered for years

A 53-year-old female client tells me, “My relationship with November and December is of love and hate. It’s a strange time where there is a sense of relief that the year is coming to an end and holidays are around and at the same time, this time is particularly a reminder of all that has not been done and the loved ones I have lost.” Particularly, this time of the year, she said, was a reminder of all the things she had not accomplished. “For years, I have been unhappy in my marriage and the year- end is a reminder that time is passing by and I still choose to remain undecided.”

I remind clients that our brains tend to focus on negative stimuli, events, more than they do on positive ones.
I remind clients that our brains tend to focus on negative stimuli, events, more than they do on positive ones.

As a therapist, my sense is that the holiday season and these months in particular, can evoke a sense of the bittersweet. There can be nostalgia about a time when life felt simpler, hope was abundant tinged with sadness about what’s happening globally and what our world has come to. People tell me they can’t name the feeling but find their sadness mixed with a resolve that one can start over. Our relationship with how we see time, also impacts what we feel. I was talking to a friend about how time optimization has become so crucial for people in the last three years since the pandemic and she mentioned that many people associate pandemic with lost time. If that’s a feeling you have felt too, then November and December can feel particularly hard, because it’s a reminder of how another year is coming to an end.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

November and December are also the time when a lot of new clients reach out in therapy to discuss family dynamics, partnerships, burnout and repurposing. There is a surge in the number of people wanting to do the deep work, to resolve issues that have lingered for years.

I remind clients that our brains tend to focus on negative stimuli, events, more than they do on positive ones. This is what we call negativity bias whereby we are more likely to remember, think and ruminate over anything that’s negative more than on the positive events. This is exactly why that one thing which didn’t go well on your holiday or the one thing you didn’t achieve at the end of the year still bothers you. Becoming aware of the brain’s tendency to fall for this bias is the first step and then learning to mindfully recall acts of kindness, love, and savouring moments where you felt joy, or awe is the second step. The trick lies in making space for gratitude in the present. This is the time when people start making plans for the next year and I remind them to come back to the present moment and focus on what is going right, so that we are not parking our contentment and satisfaction for future goals. Year endings can sometimes evoke a sense of impulsiveness, wanting to move on and get done with things, as a result I remind clients to not be hasty but hold on to decisions that can be life-altering. I remind them to take the end or the start of a year lightly, and not let emotions bound with this time affect them excessively.

Finally, I remind clients that bittersweet ambivalence is something we are capable of living with, and should not run away from it. As Susan Cain, author of the book Bittersweet: How sorrow and longing make us whole, says, “We’re built to live simultaneously in love and loss, bitter and sweet.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, April 14, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On