When the New Year Doesn’t Feel Happy

When it seems that everyone is celebrating and ringing in the new year with cheer, it can be isolating and lonely to feel sad, lethargic, depressed, anxious, or fearful…pretty much anything but happy. Maybe you squeezed a bit of joy out of yourself to celebrate, but a load of emotions came later.

I woke up this morning after a wonderful evening of enjoying the Phantom of the Opera with my partner feeling sad and scared about the future. What am I doing? Does anything that I am doing matter? What difference am I making anyways? All the thought ingredients that could lead to giving up, self-sabotage, and feeling hopeless. Luckily, enough years of meditation, witnessing, and healing work gave me the inner resilience to ALLOW THE FEELING without resistance.

As I engaged with the feeling with LOVE instead of criticism, I saw an image of myself as a baby, fearing that no one really cared. This was not a new need for my inner child, so I knew what to do- ask what she needed. I gave from my inner mother, what my baby self needed: lots of hugs, loving touch, and safety.  After a nice nap (my body was tired and needed to integrate), I bounced out of bed with new energy and wanted to speak to this experience, which many may have.


1. Recognize it is Momentary. In our most natural state of being, feelings and emotions move if you allow them to be felt. Engage with the feelings by distancing a bit, witnessing, and allowing. Notice any thoughts of doom, hopelessness, “things will always be this way”, etc. and see them as only thoughts. Sometimes emotions feel overwhelming, intolerable, or get stuck. In this case, involve Step 2.

2. Pendulate. Modulate what you feel to provide safety to your nervous system. In Somatic Experiencing, it is called pendulation. Move back and forth from pleasant feelings to what is unpleasant; take a break from the challenging feelings by shifting to looking at an object that is pleasing or beautiful to you or thinking about a pleasant experience.

3. Connect to the Body. Notice the unpleasant feelings and where they are located in the body.  Turn towards them and have a loving conversation with them. Not a logical or analytical one- a heart-centered conversation where there is no judgment about what it says or needs. Ask what it needs specifically and provide it.

4. Grieve and Get Clear. Let go of what needs to be let go of. What patterns of being have you lived out that have brought you suffering or self-destruction? What needs to end in your life so you can feel at peace and alive? Do the Death Visualization Experience to take serious and fierce inventory on what needs to die in your life, and what matters to you today so you can LIVE FULLY. Feel any losses from this year or this life. Re-envision and renew what makes you feel energized or peaceful. Set this in motion by taking one step.

5. Use your Awareness Wisely. We have a powerful ability to direct our attention to cultivate what we desire. When we do not use this power, we act unconsciously and default to old patterns and habits that may not be working anymore. Some people choose a word as a theme or intention for the year and honor this every single day whether that be by prayer, meditation, ritualizing it into an object or artwork, or using Mindjogger (an app that reminds you randomly during the day of any intention you set). The key is to EMBODY it. Feel into that intention and notice what part of your body is resonating with it. Tune into past experiences where this was true for you to turn on your capacity. Some examples of intentions include: I love and accept myself, I am vibrant, I am focused, I am whole, I am committed, I am responsible for only myself, I am a spiritual being, I am worthy…

6. Love What is Going Right. Take note and give gratitude to what is going right. Can you love your body that it is breathing and functioning? What have you done today (this week, or this year) that was life-giving? When have you enjoyed yourself or felt like yourself recently? What or who can you be appreciative of in your life?

I am wishing you all wholeness, healing, natural ease, health, and abundance this year.


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