For many people the heightened expectations of holiday gifts and having to be jolly has the exact opposite affect. While outwardly they smile and laugh, many people go into deep depressions, during this time of the year, resulting in the highest suicide rates of any period.
Here are 10 effective and powerful ways to eliminate the holiday blues, reduce your stress level, be jolly and experience a joyful spirit.
1. Be grateful. Every day you wake up and go to sleep ask yourself the question, "what am I grateful for in my life"?. When one is grateful our fear's disappear and we start to realize the magic of the simple things in life. Gratitude is a key that unlocks the door to happiness. Gratitude is something that costs nothing and gives you and the one's you love gifts of priceless value.
2. Be Present. Connect deeply with everyone you meet and love. Make a conscious decision to connect more deeply with everyone you meet. Decide to be present with those you love and meet during your day. Being present is worth much more than any material gift you can give.
3. Contribute. The more you contribute to others the more fulfilled you'll be. Material gifts have limited shelf lives. Your contributions to others stay with you a lifetime and for many even longer than that. Contributions can be as simple as inviting someone who has less than you over for dinner, sharing a laugh, a story, a walk, or helping someone do something that they can't do.
4. Focus on the things that are right in your life. The holiday blues can often be a manifestation of other things that are wrong in your life. The key is to focus on what is right in your life as where you focus goes energy flows. Anytime you start feeling blue change your focus to the things that are right in your life.
5. Contact someone you've lost touch with. The holiday blues are often caused by a feeling of loss and separation and not having enough. By contacting someone you've lost touch with you can rekindle and old friendship and this may lift your spirits and theirs.
6. Spend time with those who are alone. Often it's the elderly or sick who experience depression during the holiday season. Make an effort to connect with them, show your caring and love. They will appreciate it and you'll forget about yourself and feel purpose in your life. We often associate our value with the things we have in our lives. For most people things are never enough to make us feel fulfilled and happy. It's what we contribute and give that truly makes us happy.
7. Get out and do something. Doing something as simple as going for a walk, watching a movie or listening to a moving piece of music will do the trick and change your state of mind.
8. Pay careful attention to the language you use. Studies have shown that most of us have approximately 95% of the same thoughts each day as the previous, and we aren't usually aware of them. Really start to listen to your thoughts as they have a profound affect on how you feel. Change your language and you'll change your life. Use positive language and you'll begin to experience life differently. Remember, that God's delays are not God's denials.
9. Change the meaning. While you may not be able to change your current situation you always have the power to change what it means to you. One powerful way to change your life is to read books by people who have been in in life threatening situations and have not only survived but thrived. Examples include Nelson Mandela and Victor Frankl, who both faced horrific life conditions yet focused on the meaning of their lives and how their lives could make a difference to others. When you change meaning your change the way you feel.
10. Remember they wont last forever. The blues may be really intense and unsettling but they are usually short lived. Once you get back to your normal routine and the holidays are over, you should start feeling better. If you aren't feeling better you may want to seek some expert advice from a therapist.
The holiday blues are often a natural response to the additional stresses we face as the year end nears. For many 2009 has been an especially challenging year financially and therefor emotionally. The inability to afford the types of gifts you usually give may cause you to feel guilty and sad. Remember though that the true gift we give to each other is the time we spend. Not having the same resources we had may in fact be the very gift we all need as it could remind us that what's really important in our lives are not material things but the contributions we make and the love and connections we share.