As the week of Thanksgiving approaches, this quote resonates with me on a deep and personal level. The importance of having gratitude for what we already possess is no longer lost on me today. There was a time for many years that I was completely incapable of finding joy or appreciation for the people, possessions, or experiences in my life during the holidays. Yes, I was one of “those people.” The bah humbugs of the world who are generally repellant throughout the holiday season. I don’t remember exactly when a different tact was taken in my holiday outlook. I could attribute it to having children, more material success, more meaningful relationships, or a host of other possibilities. The truth is I had to look within to find true happiness and gratefulness for what I have.
For as long as I can remember my holiday season depression would begin around the middle of November when my birthday would arrive and last until January 2nd. I was grumpy, I was angry, and I was difficult to be around. I disliked Christmas music and all the festive absurdities. I would certainly be considered a grinch. As a side note, I still don’t enjoy Christmas music, but I believe its taste related not the byproduct of holiday season depression. For those of you who also have a hard time with the holidays and wish never to hear Johnny Mathis sing “White Christmas” on the 15th of November, here are a couple of things to consider.
- You are the Problem. Recognizing the whole world is feeling festive and happy about the holidays doesn’t make them wrong or annoying. Its you and your lousy attitude that needs to be adjusted.
- An Attitude of Gratitude. It is not possible for negativity and gratefulness to exist at the same time. Start spending time making lists in the morning about everything you are grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, think harder or ask for help from a higher source.
- Habits are hard to Break. My depression was a habit. I was in a conditioned response to who I I believed I was supposed to be as soon as my birthday arrived. Once I realized the pattern, I could start breaking it with tools I had learned along the way.
- Focus Always Finds Itself. If you put your focus on what isn’t right in the world, you will see more of what’s not right in the world. If you focus on the beauty, the bliss, the joy, and the miracles, you will see beauty, bliss, joy, and miracles EVERYWHERE!
- Start a Meditation Practice. Nothing has had more significant impact on my experiences as the 20 minutes of silent meditation daily. It allows for patience, thoughtfulness, and additional ownership in the experiences you have.
- Be of Service. One of the fastest ways to get out of a negative state of mind is doing something for someone else. No matter how large or small of an act. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army or ring a friend and tell them what they mean to you. When you are focused on making others feel amazing, you feel amazing.
- Tame Don’t Blame. When you are making a list of who wronged you and how they should know better and blah blah blah, you are blaming. We blame as a distraction to keep us from taming. Taming the mind, the emotions, and our responses. We are responsible for everything which happens FOR us. When we have this outlook, we have power. Power which will assist us in making necessary changes in our lives.
- Stop Having to Be Right. Try going to Thanksgiving with your extended family members and seek to understand, not to be understood. It’s one day of the year. Who cares who won the election? Who cares how much more educated you are than Cousin Lenny? Knock it off! Just bring love and kindness. Seriously, try it.
Lastly, the holiday season starts with Thanksgiving. It’s interesting that this holiday doesn’t happen in the middle of the summer. It happens at the end of the year, why? One could say because of the harvest or the season. Consider this, perhaps ending the year on a high note begins with getting into a mindset of deep gratitude for what we have and who we are. Once we master this, we move into spreading wonder and delight for others during Christmas/Hanukah or fill in the blank. Simply put. Be grateful first and then go make it about others, not yourself. As always, this will cause you to have a happier home. If you are interested in increasing the value of your home….