The Emotional Calendar

How emotional life is profoundly shaped by the seasons–and how to recognize your personal seasonal patterns.

This Year -- Your Fall Fix

How to align your fall season with what you need

Everybody knows the story of fall. It's this season of industry, purposefulness, and accomplishment. As I described in my book, The Emotional Calendar, it is a time when energies align. Generally, it is a really good season to get up and get going. But while fall can be a time of great energy and change, it is also a bracing dose of sobriety for most of us from the sense of unstructured summertime. Whether we enjoy it or can't wait for it to end, autumn is a return to reality: back to work, back to school, back to the routine whatever it might be.

Your fall season ought to feel very much like you are used to having it feel. So I say, stop and practice a little more self-awareness. In so doing, take a look at what you are experiencing now, as well as at what's just ahead. How do you expect your fall to be?  Consider each of the two possibilities -- that this season is in fact looking very predictable based on your past experiences, and conversely that this season is looking really quite surprisingly different. Ultimately, you will grant yourself the opportunity to make changes for the better, if you so desire. One big lesson from understanding The Emotional Calendar is that we are in fact able to make strategic changes in our outlook and adjust/regulate your involvement with the seasons in order to lead a happier, more fulfilled, and in control life. That certainly is the fix.

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Let me suggest some ways to make all this easier. Try answering these questions first. "The main reason I really like/dislike the fall is __________."  "To me, more than anything else, the fall means __________.  "In contrast to my "summer attitude", my "fall attitude" is much less __________, and much more __________." Then ask: What would "being strong" in the fall actually mean for you?  How would that work exactly?  Now take a good look at what you have revealed for yourself. Get in touch with a sense of positivity. Think of a few small adjustments to your fall routine that could make a big difference for you.  What support would help you put these into the works?  Set an intention to proceed in fall 2011 in an importantly, even slightly different way. And tell your plans to someone who cares about you. I'm pretty sure this will all encourage the fall season to turn out better, and hopefully well. I'll be rooting for you certainly.

A little later on we'll be remembering to turn our clocks back an hour. You remember, "fall back etc..." Even in so doing, keep in mind that we are moving forward. We can align better our fall season this year what we know we want and need.

 

John Sharp, M.D., is a psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist specializing in the treatment of attention deficit, mood, and anxiety disorders in adolescents and adults.

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