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It’s that time of year… the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season. So many people to see, so many things to buy, so many things to cook and bake. When January 1st hits, instead of feeling like the last few months have been a whirlwind… I have a task for you: choose a memory.
I want you to wake up January 1st having taken away a really good memory from all that occurred over the last several weeks. Over the next few weeks, I want you to pay close attention to any and all positive, warm, peaceful, calm, and loving experiences that you may encounter. This can range from a meaningful time baking or cooking with someone, listening to Christmas music and singing or dancing with family, sitting next to a warm crackling fire cuddled with someone, watching children with their faces lit up with joy and excitement, having a long warm hug with a favorite family member, an intimate conversation, a romantic kiss under the mistletoe, or sitting in a church pew and feeling God’s presence.
When you experience a positive memory that yields any kind of warm, comforting, peaceful feelings, I want you to then re-tell it to yourself as many times as possible. The more you go over it, the better! That night I want you to go over it in your head and re-imagine it. I want you to think about every detail. What you touched, what you felt, what you saw, who was there, what you heard, and what you smelled. If you’re up to it, even write it down. A memory becomes so much more real when you write it down! When you are remembering it, I want you to choose some sort of gesture as well. It can be your hands clasped together, hugging yourself, or even your hand on your chest…. You choose. I want you to do this routinely once at the end of every week in order to reinforce the memory.
If, at the end of the holidays, you walk away with more than one memory, I want you to choose the most POWERFUL one of them all.
What I really want is for you to walk away from this time of year with a powerful tool to use. Recalling positive memories creates a sense of comfort and peace. It actually causes the brain to produce the same chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin – that produced that same sense of comfort, peace, and happiness that you experienced when the memory actually occurred. Linking a gesture with the memory makes it even easier to recall, and I want these feelings to become easily accessible for you in times of need. The simple act of recalling these memories can reduce current stress, anxiety, and depression.
Make it a gift to yourself!
You don’t have to stop when the holidays are done. You can continue to make these memories in the future and have a wide array of them to access. The more memories you have in your toolbox, the more power you have to draw from to fight off the stress and anxieties that occur in life.
Don’t let the holidays just pass you by…make a memory out of it!
God’s blessings and peace this Holiday Season.
This article is not intended to be or to replace professional counseling or medical advice.