How to remain thankful this holiday season during stressful times

An African-American family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. (Photo: © Monkey Business –

From The holidays are upon us. For some that means spending time catching up with friends and enjoying family. For quite a few others, it is the most miserable time of the year. Employment issues, personal tragedies and loneliness are among the many factors finding people dreading the holiday season. And this year, on top of potentially stressful gatherings and heart-breaking reminders of lost loved ones that can creep up around this time, there are also many people who are still recovering from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly three weeks after this natural disaster ravished the entire east coast, there are more than 16,000 people who still do not have power, not to mention the 209 people who died in seven different countries and the $50 billion worth of damage to houses and businesses the storm caused.

Needless to say, 2012 has been a rough year for many people, and you might be one of them.

So if you are one of those people having a rough time and not looking forward to this season of “gratitude,” what do you do? Many people would tell you to “think of the less fortunate” during times of sadness, but why would comparing your situation with someone with even more problems than you have make you feel any better? It doesn’t make your pain or problems any less real or valid because someone else has it worse. But what might actually make you feel better is not just to think but to do something for someone else who needs your help.

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