As I get older, I realize more and more that the holiday season is particularly difficult for a lot of people. Seeing everyone else appear merry and bright may just highlight the fact that you aren’t.
Maybe you are dreading the holidays this year.
Maybe it’s your first Christmas after the passing of a loved one.
Maybe it’s your first as a divorcee.
Maybe you have estranged parents or siblings.
Maybe you are struggling with infertility, and you cannot bear to see all of the children at Christmas because it makes the hole in your heart that much bigger.
Maybe you have just been diagnosed with a serious illness.
Whatever the reason, here at two ways to change your mindset.
1. Count your blessings, one by one.
Seriously. I have already written about the benefits of practicing gratitude.
Make a list of things you are thankful for, big and small. Write them down, a look at the list often, adding to it as you think of more.
Focusing on what you are grateful for instantly changes your mindset and improves your mood.
You may not have the power to change your own situation. But there are lots of hurting folks out there, and you do have the power to lift them up. Make it a point to do service and/or random acts of kindness for other people.
Giving to others opens our eyes to the world outside of ourselves. It forces us to be less self-centered, plus it can really put our own troubles into perspective.
There are plenty of ideas if you have the financial means. Pick and angel off the charity trees and shop for a child in need. Sponsor a child in another country, or give a gift to a family through an organization such as Heifer International. Leave a big tip for a waiter or waitress. Pay for somebody’s lunch anonymously at a restaurant. Pick up somebody’s coffee behind you in the drive through at Starbucks.
Do not be discouraged if you do not have financial means, there are still a lot of ways to give. Giving of your time and service can be even an even greater (and more personal!) demonstration of love and compassion.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank. Sing carols or pass out candy canes at a nursing home. Write a card or letter to a soldier who is deployed in harm’s way and away from his family.
The possibilities are endless.
There is a lot of pain and need in this world, and once you open your eyes to it, you will find opportunities to serve around every corner.