It’s holiday time, and we will soon welcome in a new year. Whatever your religious orientation or belief system, it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy of this season.
Whether you are taking part in a gathering or spending this time alone, whether this holiday season brings good feelings or difficult ones, everyone can choose to focus on those often fleeting moments of comfort and joy.
I’m talking about simple things: a warm shower, a soft bed, that feeling of relaxing under the covers upon first awakening or getting ready for sleep, sipping a hot cup of tea, feeling the fresh air on your face outside, spending time with a loved one.
Neuroscientist Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain and Just One Thing, tells us that science shows our brains have a negativity bias. In other words, we tend to react more strongly to negative situations and experiences than to positive ones.
Therefore, we need to cultivate responding more deeply to the positive, enjoyable experiences. In this way, we strengthen the circuits of our brain to feel good and to notice even more good experiences.
The next time you feel something good, pause and notice it. Relax into it. Spend some time concentrating on it. You’re not clinging to it, you are simply opening to it, letting it expand in your body and your mind.
These small moments can add up incrementally, and, as Rick Hanson tells us, “weave positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your whole being.”
Wishing all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy, happy, and peaceful new year!
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn