Holiday Season Depression
Are you concerned about how to feel better during the holiday season? Despite what the movies may depict, happiness doesn’t appear magically because it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”. Oddly enough, the opposite is true- many people feel what has been described as “holiday season depression“. Fortunately, we can learn to cultivate happiness and enjoyment- even during the holidays.
What does science tells us?
Only 10 percent or so of the variation in people’s reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. The bulk of what determines happiness is your personality and — more modifiable — your thoughts and behaviors. So, yes, you can learn how to be feel good — or at least feel better during the holiday season.
People who are happy seem to intuitively know this, and their lives are built on the following pillars:
- Devoting time to family and friends
- Appreciating what they have
- Maintaining an optimistic outlook
- Feeling a sense of purpose
- Appreciating the present moment (One of our biggest goals in teaching meditation)
How to Feel Better: Practice, Practice, Practice
The good news is that your choices, thoughts and actions can influence your level of happiness. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, but you can turn up your happiness level. Here’s how to get started using some mind control techniques.
Invest in Positive Relationships
Surround yourself as much as possible with upbeat people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.
Your family members might be negative and opinionated, so maybe it’s time to schedule time with friends who are not. Let people know that you appreciate having them in your life.
Express gratitude more often than one day a year
Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. It’s easy to go through life without recognizing your good fortune. Often, it takes a serious illness or other tragic event to jolt people into appreciating the good things in their lives. Don’t wait for something like that to happen to you.
Make a commitment to practice gratitude. Each day identify three or four things that enrich your life. When you find yourself thinking an ungrateful thought, try substituting a grateful one. For example, replace “My sister didn’t call me” with “My sister has always been there for me. I can call her.” Let gratitude be the last thought before you go off to sleep at night and let it be your first thought in the morning. These practices may seem simple but they will work to make you feel better than ever this holiday season.