How to be Happy When the Holidays are Difficult

The holidays are upon us, and are very difficult and stressful for many. Many people view the holidays as a time to survive and just get through, quite understandably. When we deal with difficult family members, the loss of a loved one who is not around for us during this special season, or perhaps a physical illness or anything else that has been difficult throughout the year, we can feel pain and sorrow rather than the joy that is meant to be felt. We can feel burdened and unenthusiastic, and we miss the overall meaning and purpose of the holiday season.

So how do we overcome these feelings? How do we overcome the pain, sorrow or difficulties we may be experiencing at this time of year when families come together and are supposed to be “happy”? We must take a step back from our troubles, and look at the bigger picture from a birds eye viewpoint. We must appreciate the little things and have gratitude for all that we have in our lives that does bring us happiness, fulfillment and joy. We must look at the meaning of the holidays and their purpose-the season of love, peace, kindness, good will to humankind and the act of giving. What do those things mean to you personally?

If you have a difficult family to contend with, try to have greater compassion, understanding and forgiveness in your heart. With compassion, comes understanding and forgiveness. When we can have compassion for those who anger or irritate us, it lessens our own stress level and anger. It softens our hearts, and we can feel greater patience and tolerance.

If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one and are feeling lonely and in emotional pain during the holidays, try to appreciate all that much more all those whom you love dearly who are still in your life now, friends, family and spouses included. We need to be grateful for what we do have in order to feel happier. Hold onto the ones you love dearly, because they are so very precious and contribute to your life in meaningful, powerful and important ways. Take a step back to appreciate them and to feel grateful.

If you have had an especially difficult year, take a mini vacation from all that has been troubling you. Step back to reflect, and take stock of all that you are grateful for now. Take stock of any lessons you have learned through those difficulties, carry those forward with you and leave behind the rest. Appreciate all that you have that does bring you happiness, satisfaction, love, and fulfillment. Have hope in your heart and mind for a better year ahead. Despite a difficult year behind us, we can have hope that things will improve. Things can and usually do improve, in time. We must hold onto that hope for better and brighter days ahead.

If you are angry and upset about the current political climate as I know many of you are, let go of all that is not within your control and work on all that is within your control.

If you are angry about other events that have occurred, make peace in your heart with those who have betrayed you, hurt you or harmed you in any way this year. Let go of that anger and forgive. The holidays are a time for forgiveness. Holding onto anger and resentments only harms you, in the end. If you are feeling especially negative because of X,Y or Z this season, try to shift your focus from a negative outlook to a positive one.

Try to remember that the holiday season is a time of giving. The true meaning behind gift giving is the act of love for those in our lives. Again, this comes back to the notion of having gratitude and love in our hearts for those who are so very dear to us.

So remember the true meaning and spirit of the holidays this year. Give with your whole heart to those you love and appreciate. Let go of your troubles, develop compassion and understanding, have forgiveness and allow feelings of gratitude, and you will be able to feel happier and more at peace through the holiday season, even if it comes with some difficulties.

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