Sometimes growing older can bring on feelings of depression. If you’re a woman over fifty, you’ve undoubtedly had to face some less than happy realities. The body you once inhabited has likely wrinkled and widened, dearly held relationships have grown distant and sour, and cherished loved ones have passed away. The holidays, a notoriously happy time of year, can actually bring on feelings of loss and sadness as we contemplate how our lives have changed with the passing of time.
So, if you’re feeling the holiday blues, I’d like to make a small suggestion. You might want to check out the work of Dr. Martin Seligman. He’s a well-known psychologist and author of several books. His site is called “Authentic Happiness” and his mission is to promote the field of Positive Psychology. Rather than focusing on an individual’s pathology, Seligman looks towards all things positive.
There are a variety of free questionnaires you can take that measure various personality traits relating to the art of happiness. These include scales on general happiness, optimism, gratitude, and overall life satisfaction. There are also several resources, articles, and newsletters you can access at no charge. Seligman’s site is one of the most valuable I’ve found, and it can get you thinking in new and positive ways. I encourage you to check it out—especially if you’re feeling stressed and out of sorts, two common emotions that surface during “the season to be jolly.”
Who knows? Following Seligman’s advice might be the first step to changing your mood and your inner reality. Plus, there’s a huge bonus to being happy: studies show that happy people live up to nine years longer than those who are chronically depressed. So, here’s to a hearty ho-ho-ho and to the enjoyment of authentically happy holidays!