This time of year, things can go either way for many of us: we’re either excited for the holiday season or we feel a sense of dread.
This depression can be related to financial troubles getting in the way of buying the gifts you want to share, to missing someone in your life who's died or from being single and not having someone special with whom to celebrate.
At the same time, we all live in a wonderful neighborhood, surrounded by many people who we see on a regular basis, many of whom are our friends as well as our neighbors. It’s a great time of year to do something special for them and to bring a little joy into their life – especially because they won’t expect it. Tapping into a gratitude as well as showing support for those around you is a great way to shift your moodiness this holiday season.
On Being Grateful
Make it part of every day to be grateful for something. This can be as small as having gas in your car, the homemade muffins you made for breakfast or having healthy kids. Taking time each day to be thankful for something brings you peace as well as a sense of abundance, even if you feel you’re lacking in material things. As we all know from the media, people with lots of money and material possessions aren’t necessarily happy.
Make it part of every day to help someone else: As a yoga teacher, I’m in the business of helping other people. They are many other professions that have the same foundation: teachers, nurses, anyone in a service industry. But everyone can take time each day to help someone else. Stopping to give directions (who takes the time to do that anymore?), answering a colleague’s question at work fully and completely (without distractions) or calling your mom and really listening to what’s going on in her life – these are all ways to put yourself second and someone else first. This is a great way to develop gratitude for life.
Do what you love. Often. What’s your passion? Running? Cooking? Knitting? Yoga? Whatever it is you love, take time to do it. It’s a sure path to feeling grateful.
Ideas for acknowledging your neighbors:
- Take in their garbage pails.
- Offer to babysit their kids.
- Buy the person behind you a cup of coffee at the local coffee house.
- Bring in their paper.
- Shovel their sidewalk while you’re out shoveling your own.
- Smile when they pass you on the street.
- Strike up a conversation with that person you always see at the gym, yoga class or your local running route.
- Donate your time or money to a local charity.
- Make them a batch of cookies or cupcakes.
- Ask them how they’re doing and then listen to what they say.
Gratitude and acknowledging others are great ways to help you connect to the holiday spirit. Many of the ideas above are low- or no-cost and will not only make you feel great but inspire others around you.
Enjoy the holiday season. Peace.