This is my most favourite time of the year. For sure, it’s stressful and busy – the schedule coordination is out-of-control! 🙂 But there is so much to be thankful for at this time of year too, regardless whether you celebrate the Christmas holiday or not. There are so many opportunities to recognize joyful moments, I feel like this is the time of year I can put some of these moments into the bank to take out later when I’m not feeling particularly joyful.
I’m a big fan of paying attention to joyful moments.
Those moments when my smile gets as big as possible – gums and teeth and stretched lips and all.
When my heart beats faster, I sit up taller, and my blood flushes my cheeks a little bit.
These are also the times where I talk faster (yes, that’s totally possible!), when the thoughts in my mind are going even faster than my words out loud and my outward motions are extra animated and extravagant.
If you’re with me or near me in these moments, my joy is contagious…and sometimes overwhelming. I’m loud and proud and usually not self-conscious at all.
I love these moments.
I want to bottle these moments.
Especially at this time of year, some of the joyful moments I’m anticipating are:
- baking Eggnog Frosted Chai Snickerdoodle Snowmen with my sister
- long dog walks brightened by Christmas lights
- festive parties with my favourite people
- reading on the couch, in front of the fire, in the middle of a work day because my workplace is closed for the holidays
- skating at Olympic Plaza under the Christmas lights
- traditional Christmas Eve walk with my Dad
- Christmas morning in my jammies with coffee and excited small people
- lingering at the dinner table, long after the food has been cleared away, chatting with family and friends
There is evidence-based research to support how our brains change to hold onto these types of moments, to tag them as joyful events, so we can pull them out of the memory bank later when we might really need them.
Essentially, our brains do bottle these memories for us.
Recognizing joyful moments is an intentional activity for me, otherwise I take them for granted. Even making the list above was an act of intention, thinking back to previous years and the joyful moments I got to experience. The same science that tells us our brains can be hardwired for happiness tells us that the best way to do that is to pause and reflect on these moments, to give our brains a chance to tag and make these memories permanent.
Then when you need to take those memories out of your brain bottle, you can also pause and be intentional about reliving the joy, the feelings, the wonderful situation, effectively putting the memories back in the bottle to be pulled out another day.
Joyful moments are the secret sauce to my productivity at this time of year, the engine to my multi-tasking and the hope that motivates all action.
What joyful moments are you looking forward to this season?