With Christmas here and gifts being unwrapped under the tree, many people take today to spend time with family, friends, and significant others. For those of us who are fortunate enough to travel home for the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the upcoming New Year can bring up memories of nostalgia, bliss, and all around good vibes.
However, for some, the cheerful sounds of holiday music, jingle bells and the smells of cookies baking in the oven can bring forth spouts of depression, anxiety, and stress. Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.
According to Psychology Today, for some people, they get depressed at Christmas and even angry because of the excessive commercialization of Christmas, with the focus on gifts and the emphasis on “perfect” social activities. Other’s get depressed because Christmas appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the inadequacies of life (and a “victim” mentality) in comparison with other people who seem to have more and do more.
Although there is no “perfect” way to plan out the holidays or by no means should you be comparing your life to other’s, what better time than now to highlight some of the things that we all should be grateful for this season.
Here are 5 Things to Be Grateful for this Holiday Season:
Good Health (mental and physical)
Although anyone can develop a mental health problem, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.
Positive Support System(s)
A huge part of life is experiencing ups and downs. We all want people who understand us and can be depended upon during hardships. We also need people who will listen to us and give us honest, constructive feedback.
Research has proved that having a support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping mechanisms, and a longer healthier life. Studies have also shown that social support can reduce depression and anxiety.
Some people do best with a large support group, while others need a small support system. Giving and receiving support from others is a basic human need. With a good support system, you can achieve wonders, something that we all should be grateful to have.
Food and Shelter
Although the national rate of homelessness has gone down from 21.5 per 10,000 people in 2007 to 17.7 per 10,000 in 2015, there is still a lot of work to be done. The rate of homelessness amongst individual states continues to be high and the amount of affordable housing remains painfully low.
This year, take the time out to appreciate the roof that you have over your head and the food that you are preparing today. Many people around the globe do not have that luxury.
We can’t choose our family, but we only get one. Over the years, I have learned, that no matter the obstacle or problem you face, your family will always be by your side. Even if you go through many rough patches throughout life, they will always stick together, because after all, that’s what makes it a family.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to get every single one of your relatives together, at the same time, on the same day, but cherish this time spent with family even if you all are not that close.
Research backs up what many of us know instinctively: Quality friendships are good for our health. Many studies, including the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, show that social interaction with friends can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, and an Australian study of older people found that those who had a large network of friends lived much longer than those with the fewest friends.
I love all of my friends more than words can express. It’s not the quantity of the number of people that you have in your life, but the quality and amount of value that these people place into your life that matters the most.
Due to time and space, sometimes it is tough for all of us to get together like the good ol days, but when we do, it is always a good time.
With everything going on, let’s remember the things and the people in our lives who make us happy and complete.
This time of year can always be difficult for those of us who are experiencing grief, loss, and angry, but there’s always someone who has it much worse.
What are some things that you are grateful for this holiday season? Comment below!
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