We hear so much about holiday stress that it can be easy to lose sight of what the holidays really should be: fun, joyful, and a little bit magical. A strong focus should also rest on what Larry Culliford, author and psychologist, defines as ‘your adventure playground’… ‘a place to learn in and have fun’ and ‘a place in which to extend and grow’ – Your Spirituality.
When speaking of spirituality, it is not ideal to consider spirituality as a thing or an object. It is better thought of as a boundary-less dimension of human experience. Spirituality is not tied to any particular religious belief or tradition, although culture and beliefs can play a part in it. Every person has their own unique spiritual experience or beliefs, but regardless of our individuality and unique approach, one factor of spirituality that we can’t ignore is the need for connectivity. Separateness is an illusion. Everything is interrelated. This holiday season, the message is ‘connect’. Connect with others, connect with your environment, and connect with you.
The Importance of Connecting
Lots of research has been done on social connections and the implications of having too little.
- In 2012, researchers from UC Los Angeles looked at what genes were being expressed in lonely and socially-integrated people and found that people who feel socially isolated or detached, or experience a chronic threat of social losses, experience more inflammatory related problems such as arthritis and an overall poorer immune system
- Also, in 1995 researchers found that low social connections are generally associated with declines in physical and psychological health, as well as a higher propensity to the antisocial behavior that leads to further isolation.
- Finally, a 2010 brain imaging study led by researchers at the University of Michigan suggests that social rejection can activate the same parts of the as during physical pain.
Connect To Thrive
This holiday season, make it your priority to become more spiritual and to connect, using the below tips:
- Go outside– Don’t let the beauty of this time of year go unnoticed. Snowy days, crisp air, and outdoor activities like walking, skiing or ice skating are all reminders of the enchantment of the season. Take a few moments to get outside and reconnect with your surroundings.
- Take care of your health: The holiday season can be a real stress on your mind and body. Ensure you get the sleep and exercise you need to make it to the New Year. Don’t skip meals, and try to eat a balanced diet. Remember: it’s easier to get into a festive mood when you’re well-rested and not under the weather.
- Get together: It’s good to socialize at this time of year. The flurry of activity around mixing and mingling can take your mind off the shorter days, colder temperatures and stresses of life. Accept invitations from friends and family members, And why not consider extending a few of your own?
- Appreciate the good things in life: During exhaustingly busy times, you may wonder what the effort is all for. Every now and then, it’s important to sit down, put aside the difficulties and stresses of life, and reflect on the things that you do have. By focusing on the good things, you not only gain an important bit of perspective, but will draw more positive energy towards you.
- Read a book: Reading is a brilliant way to relax, de-stress, and connect with yourself. Psychologists believe this is because the mind has to concentrate on reading, and the distraction of being drawn in to a literary world eases tensions in muscles and the heart.
- Remember to breathe: Some consider breathing to be the most important of all the bodily functions, because everything depends upon it. Life is dependent upon breathing. Breath is life. Yet, most people are unconscious of their breathing and take it for granted. Click here for more information on becoming more breath aware.
“Oh the things you can find If you don’t stay behind.” – Dr Seuss
Make December the month where you make your spirituality and connectedness a priority –take the first step by attending ‘Stress Busters 2’ on Dec. 19, 2013, 12-1pm in Henry Angus Building, Room 254. In this talk, explore your personal stress triggers and review some practical, easy techniques to make brief relaxation moments a natural part of your everyday life with. To register click here.