How to Trash Valentine's Day's Emotional Triggers

      If you're in a relationship and Valentine's Day is a non-issue, great! Same thing if you're single and loving it. Valentine's Day is just another day on the calendar. But if you're not Steven Kaufman, Author of "How to Get Out of the Dumps", had tips for surviving the romantic day with a smile and love in your heart!

      - The number one way to avoid the Valentine's Day Blues: Preparation. You know the garbage is picked up once a week on a certain day. You prepare for that by gathering up all the garbage in advance. Do the same thing here. If you know Valentine's Day is coming, why not have all the garbage around it tossed before the big day?

      - If you're part of a couple and you feel pressure to be perfect on Valentine's Day, do this before the holiday.

      - Find the Triggers. Trash Triggers are those things that make us create mental garbage. With Valentine's Day, maybe it's a memory of a time when you gave the wrong gift and disappointed your mate or the memory of a fight you had the day before or the day after. If you're feeling anxiety or fear whenever you think about Valentine's Day, find the garbage in your mind that's triggering it.
      - Talk It Out. Before Valentine's Day, talk to your partner about how you want to celebrate the holiday. If you're exchanging gifts, talk about what kind and how much to spend. If you're going out to dinner, should it be fancy or casual? This isn't about ruining the surprise or throwing out the spontaneity. It's about setting expectations so both of you know what the rules are and no one's left guessing.
      - Make a Plan. Don't wander into the day. Decide what you're going to do. Are you going to go away or stay in town. Are you going out to dinner or are you staying at home with a movie and popcorn? Decide together how much weight this holiday should have and how you both want to celebrate it.

      If you're single and you're just dreading this day:

      - Find the Triggers. What's triggering the knot in your stomach. A song that was the favorite of you and your ex? The smell of the pizza shop around the corner? Shine your mental spotlight on those triggers. That takes their power away. Do this before the holiday.
      - Treat yourself. Can you think of a better time to treat yourself well? On Valentine's Day, buy yourself a gift. Get a massage. Do at least one thing that's special, spontaneous, and that spoils you rotten.
      - Treat others. If you have kids, make them your Valentine. Bring chocolate to everyone at work. Serve a meal at your local homeless shelter. Find a way to take the spirit of the day and spread it to others around you.
      If you always run into Valentine's Day garbage, take a tip from the garbageman this year and get rid of it before February 14th hits. Then, you're free to spend the day unburdened by all that emotional trash.