How to Beat the Holiday Blues: The Gift of Giving

giving‘Tis the season, but for some jollity is absent.

Though December is often thought of as a time of good cheer and happiness, many experience loneliness and depression during the holiday season.  These sad feelings may result from unmet expectations, according to Dr. Walfish, MD, child and family psychologist, and author of The Self-Aware Patient.

“A lot of people hope for families to deliver on fantasy wishes,” she says. “Very often there’s a let-down because in reality, families are complicated, filled with individuals who generally come with their own complex issues.”

And though family get-togethers may disappoint, there are ways to dispel the holiday blues. Studies have shown that giving money to charitable causes and volunteering can do wonders for the giver’s sense of well being. “Anything that pushes an individual into productivity, action, or forward motion can serve as an antidote to depression,” says Dr. Walfish.

The Benefits of Giving

The gift of giving, especially in the form of volunteering, can be an exceptionally rewarding experience, according to Barton Goldsmith, Ph. D., three-time award winning psychotherapist, and author of 100 Ways to Boost Your Self Confidence. Dr. Goldsmith lists the benefits of giving:

  • Feeling Good: Helping others reminds you that you are a good person and that you can use what you know in positive ways. The feeling of giving to someone who would benefit from your experience and generosity is priceless. It is also one of the best anti-depressants available, because there is a direct connection between giving and feeling good about yourself. The former almost always leads to the latter.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Routine: If you are used to getting up and going to the office every day and are now out of work, maintaining your routine by volunteering can be helpful.  You can only send out so many resumes and applications. Yes, you need to be available for interviews, but most places where you volunteer will understand that you have other things you need to do to survive.
  • Finding a Sense of Purpose: One of the best ways to create success in life is to see a need and fill it. So share your time, talent or treasure; it will come back to you in positive ways. Things are tougher out there right now, but don’t let that stop you from engaging in laudable pursuits. Most of the time, when we give to those in need, it makes a constructive impact on both the giver and the receiver.

What do you do to beat the holiday blues? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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