Happiness is a state that we all long for yet seem to struggle for our entire lives. The holidays are about joyful living, yet they often bring anxiety, disappointment, and depression to many people. We rush to buy gifts, eat too much, relax too little, and may overspend as well. Children claim boredom if not constantly entertained. And adults say that when they get (or pay for) xyz then they will be happy. Yet once those things occur we may still be searching for that seemingly elusive happiness.

Having worked as a marriage and family therapist for thirty years, I find that my clients of all ages seem to be dissatisfied with their lives. They feel a void or emptiness inside. Some try to fill that void by obtaining possessions or heavy drinking or overeating or working all the time or'the list is endless. So what is really missing? Of course it varies from person to person, but one thing that I observe is that we are often driven by our fears. Two big fears in fact: feeling we are not good enough and worrying that we don't have enough.

Dr. Dan Baker states in his book, What Happy People Know (Rodale, 2003), that , As we get older and have to solve all our own problems, we become increasingly obsessed with what it takes to survive in this world. Our basic balance begins to shift'from spirit to survival'and we lose our love for life. Ultimately, we find that the things we have to do to survive are often the things that end up killing us. He adds that millions of Americans have become so used to not being happy that they barely even notice it.

He further states that the five things that people often think will bring happiness, a life of leisure, status, possessions, financial security, and worldly power, do not according to his extensive research. Chapter one ends with Participation in your own destiny can help make you happy. Unfortunately, millions of people toil their lives away in the pursuit of power, perfectionism, control, status, and possessions. There's a word for these people: unhappy.

So may I suggest that you take time to truly relax, stop being consumed by trying to buy the perfect gift, quit over giving to your children, eat and exercise in moderation--and remember the reason for the season. And enjoy!

Copyright ©2016, Sharon Scott.