Staying warm and snug is something most of enjoy over the winter months.
As well as the usual physical ways to warm yourself with doonas, beanies and heaters, there are also some other ways to keep you warm this winter.
In recent years, scientists have been researching the mind/body connection. One interesting study from Finland showed how different emotions create different biological changes, including in temperature. Depression had the coldest and happiness the warmest effect on the body. This isn’t something necessarily new information. Our language has long captured this knowledge when we refer to thoughts and emotions as ‘warm’, ‘cool’ or ‘cold’. As what we think about can change the way we feel, let’s deliberately target your thoughts and feelings and warm you up from the inside out. Ready for some warm fuzzies? Let's get the inner you cosy.
If you are holding onto something that feels like ice, let it go. No matter what happened, if it chills you or turns you cold, ultimately it may stop you moving on to happier and more positive places inside. Letting go can be as easy as making a decision and backing it up with a plan, as covered in last month’s Peninsula Living. It can also be extremely hard. If you find letting go hard, please seek professional help.
Thinking positive thoughts creates smiles. An inner smile is powerful enough to automatically change your expression when it becomes an outer smile. Your smile is contagious enough to strike smiles on the faces of strangers. Smiles create inner sunbeams, capable of warming not only your system but complete strangers as well.
Science knows that our brains are wired to perceive what we expect to perceive. If your mind is less than positive, you can train it to become much more positive. One good place to start is with a gratitude journal. Every night before sleep, capture 5 things that were good about your day.
Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for creating the ‘warm fuzzies’, floods your system when you hug. Science has shown that being kind or receiving kindness from others, releases this feel-good hormone (together with dopamine and serotonin) into the bodies of both the giver and receiver. Being kind in everyday life can be practised. Whenever you interact with anyone, you have an opportunity to give it and so create the warm fuzzies in yourself, as well as everyone else you interact with.
When you are happy, the sun shines and warms you from within. Many people are choosing or finding themselves busy doing busy instead of busy doing happy. Stop and look at your day. What have you scheduled that makes you happy? If there’s nothing then add, replace or bring happiness into what you need to do. Happiness maybe lunches with friends but right now you have housework. Listening to your favourite music or a great novel can bring happiness into your doing.
Winter doesn’t last long. Learning to do more of what warms you from the inside, and turning it into a habit, can create warmth and happiness to last your lifetime.
*This article originally appeared in July 17 issue of Peninsula Living and North Shore Living.
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