Count ~ Does "counting your blessings" really help? This article from Cognitive Daily,on Science Blogs, reposted from April 2008 as a Thanksgiving offering, describes research that subjects regularly listing what they are grateful for develop a more positive outlook. Doing it daily generated the greatest benefit, but it appears that doing it weekly helped, too.
The 10 week study was divided into three groups: the first group listed five things they were grateful for each week; the second group listed five hassles or irritants; and the final group simply wrote down five "events or circumstances" from the past week.
After duplicating results with other groups, the researchers speculated that simply enumerating things one is grateful for might be a treatment for mild forms of depression.
In a modified form, this might make an interesting shared blogging project or an assignment for my onine ESL class ~ and a good reflective question to ask now and then ~ especially appropriate today.
And now connect: from the LA Times: "A connected life is a great gift" by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, authors of Connected on the seem subject
You know all the family members and friends who are stressing you out during the holidays? You need them.
Ideas and attitudes about healthy and positive behavior do tend to spread from person to person to person, but data also shows that dumping your friends is not the answer. The positive effect of staying connected is stronger than any negative effect or influence.
Second, the network itself is community and its own reward. We not only help ourselves by staying connected, we also help our whole community.
You got that? Straight from Harvard Medical School to boot. Not to mention EM Forster... "only connect..."
Ending on a lighter note: Faster Times reviews and comments on an anthology of humorous & horrible holiday stories, appropriately titled The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays.