Notwithstanding the commercialism, most people experience joy and a greater sense of emotional connection to one another during the holidays. Even so, there are some who tend to feel depressed this time of year, too. Of course it’s not one hundred percent in either direction—certainly no one is happy all the time, and I hope no one is gloomy 24/7 between Thanksgiving and New Years. The question is: Is there a way to make sure we tilt toward the “joy” side of the balance sheet?
Many years ago, a good friend and mentor told me, “The person you become in life will primarily be determined by two things: the books you read and the people you associate with.” He also said that, “You don’t attract in life what you want but who you are.” Better than thirty years later, I’d say both of these statements are largely true.
The essential message in this advice is to be careful in choosing what we allow to influence us. Input from media—books, movies, TV, social media, magazines and the like—as well as the people we choose to spend time with, influence our attitudes and decisions to such a degree that they shape our character, the direction we take in life, and ultimately where we end up and who we become. Oh yes, and how we feel much of the time, too.
The ideas one has, as well as how someone feels about just about everything and everyone will be vastly different for the person who reads more classic literature, scripture, and books on personal development, than the person whose reading is dominated by Twitter feeds, romance novels and People (or Hustler) Magazine. And when we choose to surround ourselves with thoughtful, positive, edifying peers, we will speak, act and feel differently, from those whose associations are primarily with dour, petty, angry or otherwise negative people.
With the holidays upon us, I highly recommend some of my friends’ advice. Feeling down or depressed? Turn off the Computer or TV and pick up a book by Og Mandino, Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Denis Waitley or Robert Schuller. Want to smile more during the holidays? Look for people who tend to smile and get around those people. And when it comes to interactions with others, decide to be a builder rather than a demolition expert.
On behalf of everyone here at ALIVE, we wish you all the best in happiness, health, and prosperity for this holiday season and beyond.