“Happy Holidays,” “Happy New Year,” the most wonderful time of the year; or was it? When all of the hustle and bustle is over, many people suffer from problem relationships, marital difficulties, eating disorders, alcoholism, issues with the in-laws, financial problems, and work-a-holism. The belief that the holidays should have been a joyous time of year seems to be a myth. The aftermath of such holidays can cause extreme anxiety and depression in the life of otherwise happy, well adjusted individuals. Many celebrated the holidays alone and are reminded of the loss of a loved one to death or the break up of a relationship. New Year’s resolutions signal a time to change all that for the better. We make promises and resolutions, only to abandon them.
If you check the statistics in emergency rooms, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and therapist’s couches, you will discover you’re not alone if the New Year finds you exhausted, depressed, anxious and fearful to face the challenges of the New Year. The Grinch stole your Christmas and your savings account as well, the holiday blues have set in as you notice that you gained ten extra pounds, and the same New Year’s resolution to lose weight seems impossible to achieve. There is more you can do. Take action!
Thoughts create those negative feelings and in order to change your mood, so you need to change your thoughts. Take your thoughts captive to understand why you are feeling depressed, anxious, angry, fearful, or sad. Your thoughts creating negative feelings are usually based on a lie that you believe to be true about yourself or your situation. Taking the time to examine the thoughts you are thinking and changing those lies to truth will change your mood from negative to positive. Make a list of your negative thoughts, and opposite that list write the truth of the situation. You may know that the thought is untrue, yet, you still live your life as if it were true. If you work a twelve-step program, you have a higher power that can change your thoughts from negative lies to the truth of the situation. You just have to get off the throne of your life and admit your powerlessness.
Create a list of things that you love to do and start checking them off your list one by one until your actions change your mood: A relaxing bubble bath, a trip to the mall to check out that new shop, sign up for a workshop, buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing and don’t really need, send yourself flowers, read a devotional book, get a massage, try out a new recipe, make new friends, see an inspiring movie, enjoy a cup of hot tea or cocoa, invite a friend who is having a hard time to join you, clean out the garage or a closet, volunteer your time to a community organization, your church, or a Twelve-Step group, visit a vacation spot you have dreamed of, learn to paint. The possibilities are endless. The point is to take positive actions to change your mood and your situation. Make an appointment to see your local minister or use this time to seek counseling. You may find that this is the year of the new you, the year that changed your life.
Many people inaccurately believe counseling is for people who have extreme psychological problems. Most people start counseling to deal with the immediate problems of anger, depression, and or marital difficulties and find that it does so much more to enhance the quality of their lives. Don’t let pride or thoughts such as: “I should handle this myself,” “I don’t need any help,” or “This is nobody else’s business,” keep you from reaching out for help to someone trained to help you on your journey.
Make this the year that you take action to change the circumstances of your life. Create the reality you want by the positive choices you make this year and soon you will be thinking “Happy New Year?” and realize that it really is. The action you take could be the one that turns the life of your dreams into a reality.