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What’s with all this gratitude and appreciation?

I know when life sucks, the last thing I want to do is be thankful for the suckiness.

When I lived with depression, I wallowed in despair. If someone came up to me with a bright smile and told me to change my attitude and be happy, gracious and appreciative, I would politely smile at them and mumble to myself, “Screw you. You have no frigging idea.”

While now I can appreciate the amazing benefits of gratitude, I know it is not always easy to hear.

During the holiday season, it is especially difficult.

The gap between what we see on TV, in the smiles of children and conditioning from childhood that we should be happy during the holidays, can be massive. We think we should be happy and grateful, yet the feelings of appreciation may not be present.

Hopefully, you are feeling happy and grateful, but if you are not, take solace in knowing that many others know what it feels like.

The trick that would almost always get me out of my funk was to help someone else. The simple act of offering assistance and seeing their appreciation would magically trigger a shift in my thinking.

If you see a friend or colleague who doesn’t seem to be living the holiday feelings of gratitude, be sensitive to their situation. Instead of offering to help them, look for ways that they can help you. It sounds backward, but I know it worked for me.

If you’re not feeling the holiday spirit, look for ways to help others. No matter your situation, there are always others in need.

We hear it so often, but giving is way more empowering than receiving. Look for ways to help others because it comes back to you so much more powerfully.