With the new year rolling in, many of you are probably filled with hope that 2013 is going to be a better year, that people will be nicer, or that everyone will finally start getting along.

However, Huffington Post reports that even if the idea of the holidays is “goodwill to all men,” it doesn’t necessarily go that way. According to the American Psychological Association, charity isn’t the top priority of most people when faced with a potentially large amount of monetary or material blessing--it’s personal profit.

Researchers from the University of Carolina, with the help of researchers from Harvard University, observed the behavior of 100 unwitting participants who have been offered a token of six dollars. They were then given envelopes with the full sum, half sum, or with no money at all, and were then asked to share an additional six dollars with another volunteer.

The results showed that those who were given the entire initial amount only paid forward half of the additional six dollars, while those who received half sum or no money at all only shared a small part of the additional six dollars with the next person.

Fortunately, the world isn’t a dark and lonely place where only greed reigns. Another trial by researchers from the Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah says that there’s “truth behind the idea that holidays can change a person's heart.”

Study co-author Jeff Skalski and his team recruited 14 participants online and analyzed the deep emotional and mental changes that managed to turn their lives around during the holidays. Although some of the experiences happened within the average period of nine years, all participants could still recall them vividly.

"Like our participants, Scrooge was suffering. There was disintegration. There was a world that was ripe for change because of suffering going on," Skalski explains. "Just by their presence, a trusted friend can open up possibilities and a sense of faith in what's possible that one can't see."

You don’t need to hit rock bottom in order to turn your life around. As the new year starts, be open to all positive possibilities, and should negativity rear its ugly head, face it with hope. Behind all good and bad things are chances for change, but learn to look for the things that truly matter and be content.

(Photo by Nishanth Jois via Flickr Creative Commons)

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