TODAY

TODAY   |  December 31, 2013

Finding happiness online during the holidays

While the holidays can sometimes bring on feelings of sadness and loneliness, many are now turning to websites devoted to happiness to deal with stress and negative feelings. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.

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>> if you're having a tough time finding true happiness , it turns out help maybe just amos click away. kristen welker has more on that this morning.

>> good morning to you. well, a lot of people turn to traditional therapy for help after the holidays and really any time of year but we spoke to some folks that say they found happiness just by going online.

>> around this time six years ago david byars made a resolution to change his life.

>> something wasn't right inside of me.

>> his search took him to his computer.

>> i googled happiness .

>> he found a website called path way to happiness .com. it's like online therapy. offering materials and podcast and phone session establish all aimed at helping people get their lives back on track.

>> working with path way to happiness changed my life. i'm going to be happy for me then the relationships can work because now i have something to give and something to truly offer.

>> gary is the man behind path waytohappiness.com. his website gets a million hilts a year with a 20% up tick around the holidays and many people find him by googling the word happiness .

>> there's a lot of stress in the holidays that people really feel and say it's the stress of the family dynamics. it's the stress of being alone.

>> not a licensed therapist, gary says he is more like a life coach.

>> while there is a similarity with therapists of we're trying to get to the same outcome, we're trying to get people out of emotional drama and out of the unhappiness in their life and into a happy, healthy emotional state .

>> people are turning to the internet for therapy and a recent study found that online therapy can be just as effective as conventional face to face treatment. michael payne is a licensed clinical social worker .

>> i see the internet as a resource, both traditional psycho therapy and internet therapy require a lot of work if you get a benefit from it.

>> feeling depressed, she also turned to the internet for help.

>> i think i googled happiness or finding happiness .

>> reporter: she is a mental health professional herself so she was skeptical at first but gave path way to happiness a chance.

>> i feel that it increased a lot of self-awareness and induced a sense of mindfulness and helpfulness behind action and also reaction. so i feel, i would say, i'm happier, yeah.

>> reporter: a search for happiness found in an unlikely place. now gary says people should manage their expectations during the holidays. enjoy the small things and don't expect to feel elated in every single moment. he also acknowledges online therapy is not right for everyone. the important thing is to find the right fit for you. erica and matt back to you and happy new year.

>> happy new year to you.