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  • Susan Mader, MSSW, CPS

The Gathering Place wishes you peace, joy, and hope.

All of us at The Gathering Place wish you a holiday full of peace, joy, and hope.

Hope is one small word with such a significant impact. Hope is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel that guides us through difficult times and helps us overcome adversities.

Hope can be a powerful tool for healing and personal growth. Our members struggling with life challenges cling to the hope that things will get better. And with some work, they do.

Hope leads to healing. Healing leads to recovery. Recovery leads to living a life of meaning and purpose. Who doesn’t want meaning and purpose in their life?

You may be wondering how to have hope in your life. To cultivate hope, it is essential to focus on the present moment and to take things one day at a time. Practice gratitude, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

Have an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful can lead to higher self-esteem, optimism, and happiness. It can make you more resilient. Resiliency is the ability to “bounce back.”

Create a gratitude journal. This is a listing of the things you are grateful for. Try to add at least one item to your gratitude journal every day. It is something to refer to when things aren’t going as planned.

Mindfulness is practicing paying attention to the present moment with openness and curiosity. Essentially, it means being more aware and awake to each moment and fully engaging in one’s surroundings with acceptance and without judgment.

The best mindful activities are ones where you use the five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. This exercise can be done with something as simple as a raisin. You can google the “mindful raisin exercise” and give it a try.

Those with self-compassion tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression.

Be kind to yourself and be your own best friend. Care for yourself the way you would care for others. Release judgment and gain a positive perspective. Find those people who will provide you guidance, feedback, and affirmation.

I just gave you a lot to think about. If it is overwhelming, focus on one thing: surround yourself with positive and supportive people who believe in you and will encourage you on your journey. Surround yourself with your peers at The Gathering Place!

We wish you joy. We hope for your happiness!


—By Susan C. Mader,  MSSW, CPS


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