Grinch Syndrome: How to Survive Christmas – iO Donna

Lkitchens, decoration, gifts: if for some the Christmas time brings irrepressible joy, others are forced to deal with emotions like melancholy, sadness and anger. It’s about the grinch syndrome, whose name is inspired by the famous children’s story. In fact, the protagonist is one green, snarling, grumpy creatureprecisely the Grinch, who annoyed by the Christmas celebrations, decides to steal Christmas.

Fairy tales aside, it’s not that weird live the holidays feeling sadness and in some cases even anger that ends up spilling in those who seem to enjoy this time of year in absolute serenity.

Why, then, do people have feelings of this kind at Christmas? What really is Grinch syndrome? And when does this sadness turn into hate? experts gave some answers…

Grinch syndrome: where does it come from?

Traditionally, Christmas is known as the happiest time of the yearperiod in which it is thought that all are led to be more serene and in which it seems that sadness has no place. Finding yourself experiencing opposite moods, therefore, may not be easy to deal with. To do this, the first step to take is recognize and accept their own emotions, no judgments.

“In this period, in which all the messages that reach us are of family happiness and harmony, in those families where there are conflicts or where a death has recently occurred, a feeling of deep discomfort is created, precisely because of the contrast that is generated between how one feels and how society demands that one feel. – explains Dr. Patrizia Mattioli, Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist, collaborator of the Committee – You feel out of place, bad, as if your state of mind was illicit, as if these days the right to be sad and nostalgic was suspended. And this fosters inner discomfort.

Grinch syndrome: from anger to frustration

«The causes that give rise to the Grinch syndrome can be many and different – ​​explains the psychotherapist – this condition may concern those who have been left by the couplewho is experiencing a Financial difficulties as a result of job loss.… Generally it is about situations that can be experienced as an injustice and which trigger, also understandably, some feelings of aversion and anger. Feelings that can later pour out on those who don’t have the same problems. In those moments, the joy that belongs to the dimension of the festivities feels very far away”.

Often you are not aware of the discomfort provoked at a deep and unconscious level by one’s own emotions and one finds oneself suffering even more when one notices the difference with others. This causes a feeling of frustration which can spread to other people, mainly anyone who seems to be enjoying the holidays.

It can happen to anyone

But be careful: talking about syndrome suggests a condition that worries you mainly more predisposed people when it really isn’t.

“Throughout life Dealing with Grinch syndrome can happen to anyone – still specifies Dr. Mattioli – since anyone can happen to live Difficult moments that do not correspond at all with the atmosphere of the celebrations.».

Grinch syndrome: how does it manifest itself?

“This syndrome is suffered mainly in adulthood, as a result of negative events that have led to rejecting this kind of collective good humor dictated by the calendar -the psychologist underlines again- The most common symptoms are a emotional upset that strikes before Christmas. Most of the time it is about emotions like sadness and anger. In addition, there is a tendency to isolatebecause even the crowd, shopping, lights and carols are extremely annoying for these people.”

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How much does it affect the economic and social situation?

Not to mention that nowadays the weight of the period we are living and the latest social and world events that we are witnessing.

Many people understandably try sadness in front of the daily news. – explains the psychotherapist – In addition, inflation has a great impact on the majority of Italians, who are forced to bear extra expenses between gifts and banquets. Although to a lesser extent, compared to other years, some people are still unable to reunite with their families on designated days due to Covid. All this affects our state of mind and the way we perceive the Christmas holidays.

Grinch syndrome: how to be around the haters of Christmas

And how to behave then if in the group of closest friends or relatives there is someone who lives the holidays with the classic Grinch Syndrome?

«It is not easy to be next to a person if you do not experience the same difficulties as her – answers Dr. Mattioli – The first step is certainly try to understand what the person’s experiences are suffering and try to empathize more by finding one common space where you can offer support. But you shouldn’t force it. Or do you think that somehow you can change the suffering. To give a specific example, if there is someone in the family who is going through a difficult time, which does not allow them to live Christmas serenely, they can look for a Shared measure at the celebration. maybe through smaller modes that are compatible with the suffering of someone who is going through a difficulty.

How common is Grinch Syndrome?

It must also be considered that feeling melancholy, anger or sadness during the Christmas period seems to be a more common condition than you think.

At least according to what arises from a recent survey by MioDottore What did you want to investigate? sensations that vacations generate in Italians, noting also how these have changed over the years.

The data shows that while the 42% of Italians lives with happiness Christmas time, another 40% seem to take into account the pros but also the cons. on vacation and a rest 18% just can’t stand the Christmas spirit that is breathed in every corner. Regardless of differing points of view, what emerges from the survey, however, is that this time of year represents one source of stress for 78% of Italians.

What stresses Italians the most

The reasons? Almost 2 out of 5 Italians (39%) attribute the discomfort to a delicate family situation that does not allow them to fully enjoy their holidays and a similar percentage (36%) suffer from classic dynamic related to “snake relatives” with whom one feels compelled to share the same table. In parallel too nearing the end of the business year generates anxiety, so much so that 39% of those interviewed complain increased concern caused by numerous on-site commitments of work, between budgets, deadlines and planning for the new year.

And if family issues and work stress weighed heavily even before the pandemic, Since 2019, the percentage of those who declare themselves stressed by the extended sociability of the holidays seems to have grown. Illinois feat of pre-Christmas appetizers, company dinners and toasts brings 36% of Italians are anxious, precisely 16% more than in 2019.

Grinch syndrome: how to overcome it

Numbers and statistics aside, what is useful to know is that, although it seems impossible, the The Grinch Syndrome can be overcome. Or rather, it is possible spend the holidays unscathed even when one’s mood is decidedly similar to that of the little green monster who wanted to steal Christmas.

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First rule: keep in mind that it is a temporary phenomenon. The holidays will pass and life will return to its natural rhythm. Better to focus then on those who can be the positive aspects of the period. How to do? In the gallery some useful suggestions provided by the experts of!


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