Put Yourself on the Path of Happiness for the Holiday Season

It’s been a rough year for many, a rough several years in fact.  The holiday season can bring shudders and tears to folks who have lost family members or friends; who have lost jobs and income; who have seen illness come into their lives; or who have lost hope and aspiration.

There is a man on the verge of homelessness.  He has suffered depression for years due to guilt he felt at the death of some family members – not that he was responsible, just that he felt he hadn’t treated them the best way possible.  He became a hoarder, he has not worked in years, he feels unemployable and his house is now encumbered with debt and will soon be put up for a tax sale.  How does he get his self-esteem back?

There is  a family, torn by divorce and struggling to understand it’s new circumstances in order to deal with them.  How do they move on with their lives?

There is  an employee, laid off in 2009, still valiantly seeking work but secretly feeling his time is over.  How does he find the blessings of the holiday season with no money to buy gifts?

There is a mother, worried over her grown son who was involved with drugs early in life and was recently hit by a car.  How does she find the strength to help him on his road to independence?

There is  a wife, still fighting cancer after undergoing breast cancer surgery years ago.  How does she live without despair?

If you have been affected and have become depressed, anxious or stressed – how can you try to lift yourself up this holiday season?

Six Ideas for a Better Shot at Happiness

Please remember, these are only my ideas,  I am not a professional health or care giver.

1.  Forgive yourself.

Maybe you did mess up (or maybe you really didn’t).  It doesn’t matter.  Before you can move on, you have to forgive yourself.  Re-establish your self-esteem.  Don’t blame yourself for someone else’s mistake.  Forget about what happened at your old company – they just didn’t need your talent anymore. Being sick is not your fault.  Every child must leave the nest and  take responsibility for their own actions.

Resource:  Web MD Learning to Forgive Yourself We all mess up sometimes. So why is learning to forgive yourself a lot harder than forgiving others? By Jean Lawrence

2.  Seek help and hope.

Put yourself in the path of kindness.  Let someone know of your difficulties.  Seek programs or organized assistance that will be of benefit to your situation.  Don’t isolate yourself and moan about your life, find and utilize the help that is out there. Find programs that will provide counseling for depression, or hoarding or medical intervention or what ever it is that you need. Look for financial aide or community outreach programs that can let you provide your family with holiday meals and gifts.

Resource: Holiday Help Salvation Army  – they have the Angel Giving Tree program (with JCPenney) to help give Christmas gifts to low-income  children and senior citizens and the Red Kettle   program which gives FREE dinners at Christmas. Enter your zip code in the directory on the Salvation Army contact web page, call or visit them to see what kind of help you can get. This will also connect you with other programs such as the Adopt-a-Family program in your area.

Resource: Find local charities by searching the internet with your town’s name + charity.

Resource: Hoarding help

Resource: Mental Heath counseling help

3.  Start something new.

The wife with cancer I mentioned above started a new business and devotes herself to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  She lives her life, just like the rest of us, maybe better.

Go to school (there are free communiversity classes on a number of subjects in most communities), get re-trained for a new profession (there are numerous programs you could apply to for financial help); learn a new skill or start a new hobby; interact with different people – get out of your rut.

Resource: Free Job retraining programs 

Resource: Communiversity classes:  Search the interent with ‘communiversity’ to find local programs.

4.  Find a new life direction.

Consciously determine what you want to happen in your life.  Try to set at least one solid and realistic goal that you feel you can accomplish to start getting to that new direction.  Align yourself with people who agree that your new direction is a good one and listen to what they have to say.

5.  Help someone.

Find a way to give something of yourself that makes you feel good about yourself.  Teach someone else something new.  Give away a dollar in front of the thrift store.  Serve as an usher at church or help out at the local soup kitchen.

6.  Think differently.

Get a new attitude.  You can’t expect a different result if you keep doing and thinking the same things you’ve always done and thought.  Read books on new subjects.  Try to understand someone else’s viewpoint.  Participate in a new group that discusses things you haven’t yet discussed.

7.  I know, it’s not easy.

It’s not easy, it’s not quick, but only you can really turn your life around.  Only you can change the way you look at life.  A change in attitude can help you view your world in a more favorable light and perhaps even get you started back on the path to happiness.

Please use the comments to list other resources you know about to help others put themselves in the path of happiness.

This post was written by Marie. 


Put Yourself on the Path of Happiness for the Holiday Season — 19 Comments

  1. Your article was very inspirational, and it is good to be reminded of those in our circle of friends and community that need help. We had a tragic event occur with our daughter several years ago, and the amount of love, support, and prayers helped us through it. We vowed that we would always return that kindness by helping other people when we can.

    • Monica, I’m truly sorry to hear about your daughter but I’m glad that you did receive support through it.

      After I wrote this post but before it was published, a well known and loved TV weatherman in our area committed suicide. I wish the love and respect being shown now for him by the entire city could have helped him through his depression and prevented his last act. You just never know when a simple act of kindness can help someone so much.

  2. It is very hard to see past the immediate problems, but there is help out there. Look for the positive and add to it. The positive feelings can bring you up out of the problems.

  3. When my mom divorced when I was six, she followed through on all of these, seeking help, signing up for college, forgiving herself, etc. I’m very proud of how much she accomplished, and I know she is happier for it.

  4. Good list. I especially like your including the point on forgiveness. I think it is very important to relinquish any unforgiveness, including not forgiving yourself. Too often we unknowingly internalize “poison.”

    • Jeff – I imagine we all have things we think we need to be forgiven for – whether they are real or just imagined they can block our progress.

  5. Helping others is a great way to give back to society and feel good about yourself. People really do appreciate help from others. Seeing this, it can help one to be a happier person. 🙂

  6. Getting through adversity is difficult enough, but the holiday season can seem to magnify difficulties, so this post is timely. Great suggestions. I too think forgiving yourself is most important; too often we cause our own turmoil by blaming ourselves and reliving difficult events.

  7. Good thoughts, Marie. This holiday season, we’ve found a family in need of help. More impactful than sending cash to a large organization. A share of the donation must perforce go to support the administration, instead of being directly used.

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