Home » Blogs » Psychotherapy Matters » All I Want For Christmas Is A Stable Mood

All I Want For Christmas Is A Stable Mood

Christmas tends to be a stressful time.  If you are someone who is particularly sensitive to other people’s stresses then you may find yourself being quick react.

Being reactive is where moods can run away with themselves.  It is all too easy to find yourself spending the rest of the day trying to get your reactions back under your control.  That is a very tiring way to live.

I think it is more helpful to try to be proactive and to manage yourself and to prepare for the different emotions you are likely to encounter.

It is possible to learn to take better care of our moods and reactions and I think we should all start doing that today.

It is possible to remember to preserve your emotional stability.  It may be a habit of self-care that needs to be worked, and practiced but what work could be better than that?  This can make all the difference to how things develop for you and for those around you.

Instability tends to work like an agitated and sensitive emotional molecule.  A molecule that all our moods then become built upon.

We need to find a way to look after that part of ourselves, that molecule, the bit of us that becomes the basis of all of our agitated and unstable moods.

Personality Disorders

Often when we speak of diagnoses of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) or Borderline Personality Disorder (BDP), we are talking about ordinary emotional parts of ourselves that we are still trying to learn how to look after.  We may not have grown up in families in such a way that we learnt to do this naturally in childhood.

This is still work that we have to do. Let’s start right now.

The evidence from my work is that the pattern of our emotional reactions to things is something that has been acquired.

  • They have been developed in reaction to particular emotional environments.
  • We may have experienced traumas that were not properly acknowledged at the time they occurred.

Your emotional instability is a result of things that have happened to you, it isn’t that there is something wrong with you.

There are often questions about whether a diagnosis of EUPD or BPD has a genetic component.  I think two things stand out:

  • we may be people who are particularly sensitive to moods around us,
  • we may have been raised in families in which our sensitivity was unusual.  Instead of it being recognised and nurtured appropriately we were left to manage it by ourselves.

As a consequence, a cycle of emotional instability resulted which we are still trying to learn how to manage.

This is why I see it as our task to learn to care for ourselves, to be proactive and keep our emotions and our reactions in mind.  To remind ourselves that our reactions may not reflect the things that are happening around us, but may instead be a result of a neglected emotional instability in ourselves.

I think if we can keep these thoughts in mind, then we have a chance of staying more in control of how events play out.  Each time we manage to remember this, we regain control.  This is really really good for us.  We stay calm right now and we feel better.  We gradually build a more emotionally stable world for ourselves, and for those around us.

Being able to manage ourselves and our moods by ourselves is the best gift we can get.  I think we should try to give it to ourselves.

I hope that today and over the Christmas break we each find our own way to keep our moods stable in the face of whatever provocation we experience.

Merry Christmas

All I Want For Christmas Is A Stable Mood

Toby Ingham

Toby Ingham is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and supervisor based in High Wycombe in England. Toby works on both a short and long-term basis with people who are trying to work through a variety of situations. Sometimes these relate to a specific event such as CPTSD, bereavement, divorce or redundancy, sometimes relating to a more general problem or behavior. He blogs on a wide range of psychological themes.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
, . (2018). All I Want For Christmas Is A Stable Mood. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Dec 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.