Have you ever noticed that all the famous Christmas movies begin with the main character unhappily scrooging their way through the month of December, before some unforeseen event transforms them back into a state of joy and gratitude to humanity?
(In case you’d like me to pony up some references, here are a few: It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, Love Actually, Scrooged, How The Grinch Stole Christmas… to name a few.)
Why is it that our main characters always start off with a crummy attitude toward the holidays? Well, as crazy as it sounds, recent studies show that this is actually the most stressful time of year…
How is this possible? December was the long-awaited promise land when we were kids, remember?
When did all that childlike glee begin to disappear? Don’t you want it back?
OK, it’s time to cut through the chaos, dig down deep and tap back into what really matters.
Here are three soulful ways to fill your heart with joy — and feel more connected to the spirit of the season.
1. Give to Your Favorite Charity
Charitable giving will never go out of fashion. Giving to a great cause not only gets you into the spirit but helps those in need. There are so many great organizations out there — one to fit any interest or passion you might have.
And don’t think that small contributions don’t make a difference, because they do! It’s easier than ever to give to a charity. You can write a check, round up when you’re checking out at certain retailers, give online, or even donate some of your unwanted items. eBay for Charity allows both buyers and sellers to support their favorite causes while shopping and selling.
If you need a charity suggestion, Feeding America is an awesome charity! It’s a nationwide network that feeds millions of people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies. The thing that gets me the most, is when I know that there are kids that are hungry. I can’t handle that. It’s estimated that one in four children will have gone hungry this year due to the effects of the pandemic. Feeding America is helping to squash that statistic… and you can help.
We chose Feeding America because it is such a wonderful charity here in the states, but if you want to reach out farther, another amazing charity is Unicef — a charity that works to drive change for children around the globe.
2. Acknowledge and Spread Gratitude
By practicing real gratitude we can create positive changes in our lives as well as others. When we focus on gratitude, we forget about the negativity that sneaks into our thoughts. This year hasn’t exactly been the easiest, but I bet we all can list a few things we’re thankful for.
In this spirit of gratitude, I offer you a poem from Melanie Beatty to evoke greater appreciation in your life:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes,
the unexpected into perfect timing,
and mistakes into important events.
It can turn an existence into a real life,
and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
3. Random Acts of Kindness
Being kind and selfless is the real reason for this season. A simple smile or holding the door for someone can do more than you know. You never know what someone might be going through.
Why does it feel so good to make others happy? The science is just beginning to trickle on this phenomenon, but in the meantime, here are some words on the art of giving to start your wheels turning!
“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
“Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a super happiness.” — Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus
“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” — Leo Tolstoy
“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
“Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person.” — Goldie Hawn
From the suggestions above, you see it doesn’t take much to make an impact. Enjoy the parties, food, and gifts, but most of all… enjoy the time with family and friends and be grateful for all that you have.
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science