“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!”…Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ”Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Why We Feel Down at the End of the Year and What We Can Do About It
By Lisa Firestone
The holidays are painted to be a time of love and cheer, but for many people, the winter months and the close of another year can be tough. The gloomy weather can wear on us. Family visits can prove taxing. And painful feelings can surface, especially with the memory of lost loved ones or the simple realization of the passing of time. Many of us tend to attach meaning to the holidays that adds extra pressure to our experiences and can set us up to feel disappointment, anxiety, or sadness. So what are some of the reasons we get down at the close of the year and how can we take a proactive approach to staying positive?
5 Ways to beat the blues include:
1. Keep Active - Cold and dark weather can make us drowsy and discourage us from being physically active.
2. Stay On Your Own Side - Be wary of self-critical thoughts that tend to crop up during the holiday season and end of the year.
3. Get To Know Your Patterns - One of the most valuable questions for people to ask themselves when they feel down is “What am I telling myself in those moments when I start to feel stressed or depressed?”
4. Choose Your Family Time - Family time may sound relaxing and joyful, but not all holiday visits are filled with warmth and affection.
5. Keep A Balance - Many of us have obligations over the holidays from every end of the spectrum, from the distant relatives we visit to the odd hours we work.
(This excerpt was taken from 5 Ways To Beat The Holiday Blues by Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., and appeared on psychology today.com on December 17, 2012. To view it in its entirety please click on this link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201212/5-ways-beat-the-holiday-blues.
“Just when teens are wiring the circuits for self-control, responsibility and relationships that they will carry with them into adulthood, violent games activate their anger center while dampening the brain’s ‘conscience.’ ” – Dr. Phil
Children And Violent Video Games
(The following is excerpted from the article Children And Violent Video Games that is posted in its entirety on drphil.com.)
More and more kids are playing video and computer games — especially ultra-violent ones that are top sellers. Research shows that children are also spending increasing amounts of time playing them: an average of 13 hours per week for boys and 5 hours for girls. A recent content analysis by the research organization Children Now shows that a majority of video games include violence and about half of the violent incidents would result in serious injuries or death in the “real” world.
According the American Psychological Association, violent video games can increase children’s aggression. Dr. Phil explains, “The number one negative effect is they tend to inappropriately resolve anxiety by externalizing it. So when kids have anxiety, which they do, instead of soothing themselves, calming themselves, talking about it, expressing it to someone, or even expressing it emotionally by crying, they tend to externalize it. They can attack something, they can kick a wall, they can be mean to a dog or a pet.” Additionally, there’s an increased frequency of violent responses from children who play these kinds of video games.
Dr. Phil also points out that violent video games don’t teach kids moral consequences. “If you shoot somebody in one of these games, you don’t go to jail, you don’t get penalized in some way — you get extra points!” This doesn’t mean that your child will go out into the world and shoot someone. “But they do use more aggressive language, they do use more aggressive images, they have less ability to control their anger and they externalize things in these violent ways. It’s absolutely not good,” says Dr. Phil.
And, according to the National Institute on Media and the Family, it’s not just a concern when it comes to young children. Teenage brains are in the midst of growth spurts, making teens very impressionable. Just when teens are wiring the circuits for self-control, responsibility and relationships that they will carry with them into adulthood, violent games activate their anger center while dampening the brain’s “conscience.” And think of the more subtle impact: What do you think the effect is when your kids spend time with violence simulators that glorify gang culture, celebrate brutality, lionize crudeness, and trivialize violence toward women?