The Emotional Calendar
John Sharp M.D.
A leading Harvard psychiatrist reveals how our emotional lives are profoundly shaped by the seasons, and how to recognize our own seasonal patterns and milestones.
In two decades of psychiatry practice, John R. Sharp has worked with many people who experienced the same emotional distresses at specific times of the year--a young woman who became depressed before Thanksgiving, a middle-aged man who felt anxious about making his summer travel plans, people who made uncharacteristically extreme decisions as spring approached.
In The Emotional Calendar, Sharp reveals how environmental, psychological, and cultural forces profoundly affect the way we feel, and how the enduring effects of personal anniversaries can affect our moods and behavior year after year. Sharp also illustrates a wide range of individual responses to cultural phenomena: some people feel anxious at the start of a new school year or are undone by the prospect of tax season while others are buoyed by the start of a sports season.
Sharp shows us how to recognize the milestones on our own emotional calendars, providing guidance for how to break stifling patterns and remedy destructive moods. This empathetic and deeply resonant book will help readers reach emotional balance for the years ahead.
"In simple, concise language, [Sharp] examines how seasonal changes, along with environmental factors--light and dark, hot and cold, wind and storms--can impact moods and behavior. . .Sharp's great strength is his genuine concern with moving beyond definitions and fostering awareness in readers abut their own emotional calendars . . .offers an interesting and original way to think about the underpinnings of psychological health. Perceptive and useful."—Kirkus
"Dr. Sharp provides intriguing insights into the four seasons and how they affect us. Through his compelling and engaging stories of real people, we see how the time of year can make us feel happy or sad, fulfilled or despondent. Sharp also suggests strategies that can help people tackle the dark and turbulent times. This book is sure to be of immense benefit to anyone who wants to understand the ebb and flow of their own emotional calendar and take control of their response."—Sanjiv Chopra, M.D., MACP, Professor of Medicine and Faculty Dean for Continuing Education, Harvard Medical School, and coauthor of Dr. Chopra Says
"With The Emotional Calendar, Dr. John Sharp inspires a deeper appreciation for the seasons that make up the year, and for the emotions that they may bring. The book takes readers on an enjoyable and educational journey, and leaves them wiser and better prepared for the challenges of life on our spinning planet."—Peter C. Whybrow, M.D., Director, Semel Institute at UCLA and author of A Mood Apart
"John Sharp has written a relatable, warm and thoughtful guide to the science of the seasons, one that offers readers the opportunity to make better sense of recurring emotional hallmarks in their lives. Counterintuitive yet surprisingly grounded in common sense, this book is a must read for anyone who feels at the mercy of the calendar when it comes to their moods. "—Carol Bernstein, M.D., President, American Psychiatric Association
"Dr. Sharp shows us how the calendar shapes our inner lives—not only the mood swings that come with changing seasons but also those that come from memories tied to specific holidays and past events. Understanding your own emotional calendar is a giant step toward understanding yourself, and recognizing how emotional calendars affect others is a giant step toward improved human interactions and relationships. Thank you, Dr. Sharp, for a book that should be read by everyone who has felt the bite of winter, the glare of summer, or the sadness of autumn's shortening days."—Bill Streever, author of Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places