Emotions of Spring Fever

Does the coming of spring make you feel joyful? Melancholy? Confused? All of the above? Most of us welcome the warmer weather and rebirth of Nature in spring. At the same time, inner feelings can be as changeable as the spring weather. We shift between feelings of elation and frustration as the consistent cold of winter breaks apart but before we get to the consistent warm of summer.
Seasonal change is naturally destabilizing. This visceral and emotional response to the weather is grounded deep in human history. For thousands of years, winter was literally a threat to survival. It was hard to stay warm. Food was scarce. The coming of warmer weather meant the return of greater safety. No wonder early humans loved the promise of spring: it meant they weren’t going to freeze to death this year. Deep in the recesses of our consciousness, that response continues to this day.
What should we do about the emotional swings that occur when the weather changes? The best response is to recognize what’s happening and simply tell ourselves the truth about it. “I feel hopeful today.” “I feel sad.” “I feel elated.” “I feel discouraged.” Telling the truth by describing exactly how you feel transfers the emotion from your unconscious to your conscious awareness. It releases some of the emotional energy caught up in fear and disappointment.
You are not your feelings. We frequently make the mistake of understanding our identity in terms of our emotions of the moment. But emotions aren’t who we are, they are something we have. Robert Fritz reminds us that we are more effective when we can separate ourselves from how we feel.
As you get to know your emotional system, you will come to understand how all the emotions fit together. In the moment, it might help to step outside your emotional experience and examine it as if you were seeing it in someone else. E.g. “I feel depressed today. Isn’t that interesting? What’s the feeling about? It’s been raining for two days and I’ve been stuck in the house. I feel disappointed that spring is taking so long to arrive.” Etc.
Knowing that May and June are just around the corner won’t make you feel better on a cold and rainy April day. Telling the truth about exactly how you feel might. Describe your feelings accurately or write them down. You’ll feel better balanced as the unpredictable weather of April leads to the summer ahead.