Church of England: Find reasons to be thankful on Blue Monday
In response to 'Blue Monday', supposedly the most depressing day of the year, the Church of England has released a video in which Christian writer and broadcaster Brian Draper suggests we focus on our "haves" and not our wants.
The bleakness of winter means that we often try to "fast-forward" into a newer and brighter season, but "rather than fast-forwarding, I wonder how can we pause instead to make the most of this time of year?" Draper asks.
"Less than a month ago at Christmas we celebrated the courage and humility of the God who became flesh and dwelt among us; not to help us escape life, but to enter into it more fully; to embrace it, to make the most of it."
Draper gives suggestions as to how we can "embrace" this season, despite the rainy days and the indulgences of the festive season that are now catching up with many of us. He labels "self-giving acts of love" as a way of injecting some joy into low times.
"Go out of your way to help someone else, someone who you know needs a helping hand or even just a hug," he suggests.
"You could also perform a random act of kindness to a stranger. These things can be positively contagious."
It is also a good time to "stop for a moment or two to be thankful for our haves instead of our wants...if you are in a position to take things for granted, you are already blessed beyond your needs", Draper says.
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According to a YouGov survey commissioned by the Church of England, 90 per cent of us count our blessings, and over half consider family and friends to be the biggest reason to be thankful, followed by good health.
The statistics show that older generations are more likely to count their blessings every day, with one third of those over 55 taking time to be thankful daily, a figure that decreases to one in six of those aged 18 to 24.
The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, notes that: "Happiness comes when we stop living our lives just for ourselves.
"The importance of family and partners highlight that when we are loved and show love it begins to make a difference to how we live and how we view the world. No wonder that the Christian faith places the self-giving love of Jesus at its heart.
"God can always provide affirmation even when the still important human affirmation lets us down," he concludes.
To help combat the low ebb of Blue Monday, the Church of England (@c_of_e) is calling on people to tweet their blessings using the hashtag #countyourblessings.