And so it’s nearly Christmas. The festive season is supposed to bring joy, gratitude, happiness, love and laughter, but if the thought of the festive season leaves you feeling down – you’re not alone. There is a dark side to the holiday season. Christmas may be a harsh reminder of grief, and loneliness and put people under immense amounts of financial stress. Christmas can be incredibly difficult.
Research on Christmas has uncovered a Psychological phenomenon called Christmas holiday regression. Christmas holiday regression is so universal that therapists advise “expect to regress”. Forget all the progress you’ve made towards becoming a fully functioning adult, for the week of Christmas, you are transported back to your 13 year old self.
Psychology provides no real reason to believe that you’re literally returning to an earlier stage of ego development. The crucial point about old family roles is that they actually work. They’re proven ways that you’re family has discovered it can function and hold together over the years. They’re comfortable and become the “norm”. Our role within the family is generally permanent. This doesn’t mean that people enjoy these roles, however, they serve a purpose for the family unit.
Family dynamics play a role in this phenomenon, along with the emotion-eliciting potential of some environments and their role in forming our memories. If you’re sleeping in the bed you slept in as a child, it makes sense you would feel child-like again!
Another factor playing a part in this phenomenon is smell. Smell is a powerful trigger for memories.
What can be done?
It is important to commit to an adult posture. Adopt an adult posture to try and counter the regression to childhood. Plant your feet, take a deep breath, and stand up tall. Use the voice you use in your adult life.