The holidays are promoted as one of the happiest times of the year, but for many, the opposite is true.
When you’re missing a loved one, a job, a marriage, or your health, it doesn’t always feel like there’s anything to celebrate. Many struggle at the tinkling sound of joyous laughter or the merry twinkling of Christmas lights. The smell of apple cider, the soft fleece of a favorite blanket, or the familiar taste of a family recipe can trigger flashbacks of memory, reminding the grieving of what they lost. The hurting often wish they could curl up, throw the covers over their heads, until it all goes away.
So what can you do when depression, anxiety, and mourning smother your peace and goodwill toward all men? In my research on PTSD and other forms of unresolved grief, I’ve found there’s one powerful agent to help you get through the holidays when you can’t get over a loss.
Focus your mind on something greater than your grief.
Studies show the human brain cannot clearly focus on two opposite thoughts simultaneously. There are practical and spiritual ways we can reduce our number of sad flashbacks and create new and meaningful memories.
- Concentrate on helping others. My article in Thriving Family magazine gives several specific ideas.
- Read short excerpts, articles, chapters, etc. in the Bible, or helpful magazines or books. When our minds think on positive and healing things, we are inspired to do more than we believe we are capable of.
- Seek out another hurting soul and offer them the kind of comforts and encouragement you would like to receive yourself.
- Take one specific action toward healing, or making a fresh start. Give yourself permission to take one tiny step forward.
- Pray. Many studies support the mysterious power of prayer to transform mindsets and circumstances.
Many of us will experience things we will never get over, especially during the holidays. But we can get through — with God’s help and our concentrated efforts to choose wisely and well for ourselves.
If you are one of the walking wounded this holiday season, please know you are cared for. Your hurts matter and so do you.
If you were to come across a pain-filled soul, what comforts would you offer them? What kindness would you show? Give yourself the same gift of love this holiday season. It’s okay to grieve, but it’s also okay to believe. To accept that God sees you and loves what He sees. No matter how you feel, you are not alone.
Did you know your decision to offer a small smile or a listening ear may be the one thing that helps someone else get through their own holiday grief?
Anita Fresh Faith
Matthew 5:4 (NLT)
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Anita Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, international speaker, and author. Her latest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over releases April, 2015. First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market is currently available at all major bookstores.
Anita is passionate about work with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience and research. Anita will inspire you to believe as she does — it’s never too late!
Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband, Ricky, while they laugh and dip their toes in a lake or river.
You can connect with her on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com.