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The Joy of Giving in Difficult Times

Many of us will have to get creative this year. The festive season is upon us and giving fewer, less-expensive or no gifts at all is not a choice but a necessity. This could be the year for us to consider the giving of ourselves - whether it be time or attention. Giving yourself can be one of the best investments you make and the rewards can be priceless.

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giving

When we do kind things for others we feel happier.  Even just hearing stories of kindness can move us to tears and inspire altruistic behaviours – our lives are richer when we share! By focusing on giving to others we’re less likely to become consumed by our own challenges and concerns. The mere act of giving fills a person’s life with joy and our own happiness multiplies.

Our motivations to give can be particularly powerful during the festive season.  It’s nice to do something for someone else.  We create positive feelings when we give to friends and family. However, this is a particularly difficult time financially for many of us and it’s important to remember that the best presents aren’t always the most expensive.

We may need to get creative this year with our gift giving.  With many of us currently unable to venture out, we can thankfully shop quite frugally on-line. Or, if we have absolutely no idea what to buy someone and don’t want to risk going into too many shops, the trusted gift card is always a quick and easy choice – especially now they can always be converted into cash if they’re not redeemed  Alternatively if you’re a crafting whizz, this may be your time to shine.

Helping Ourselves As We  Help Others

If however, money is too tight this year for any present buying, we could consider just giving our time and energy, it will definitely be appreciated. True fulfilment can be found in the giving of ourselves to others.  Real joy lies in the act of giving without any expectation of receiving something in return. It is said that the act of giving increases our feelings of self-esteem and brings happiness. We often find the more we give the more we receive.

The joy of giving brings with it a great sense of satisfaction. Giving freely means giving more of yourself with greater thought.  You don’t even have to show up in person to make a difference to someone. An unexpected phone call can brighten someone else’s day as well as your own.

The joy of getting can be short lived compared with the inner-joy that comes from helping others to better their lives. So whatever your circumstances this year, you always have the ability to give something, even if it’s just a smile.

Stay Grateful

We need to learn to adapt to life as it is now.  Change has always been an inevitable part of  life, with many aspects of it out of our control.  It’s only now in the current climate we are made acutely aware of our precarious place in the world.  So we need to try to accept the situation as it is and begin to focus on what we can control. Gratitude is the starting point of anything.  Instead of being consumed with negativity we need to aim to keep a positive perspective be creative and find gratitude in the moment.

The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and by giving to others it helps us to appreciate the things we may have taken for granted. Helping others increases our own sense of well-being so the gift of giving ourselves this Christmas is a win win  for everyone.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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