Christmas is a period for everyone to enjoy. People can relax, come together with family and loved ones, reflect on the year that has passed and share their goals for the year ahead.
Being a part of Christmas festivities can also be beneficial for mental health. It encourages positivity and socialising as well as gratitude.
How does the Christmas Period Encourage Positivity?
Christmas and other community social gatherings can encourage a sense of ‘collective effervescence’. This idea was developed by Emile Durkheim and is the overall positive mood or behaviour that is shared when people come together in celebration.
This is a regular feeling during the Christmas period and can increase well-being and satisfaction.
Further, Christmas and holiday periods can also reignite positive memories of childhood and encourage thoughts of happiness.
Maintaining Christmas routines can be a relieving practice after the past two years of uncertainty and disruption. Despite government restricted celebrations, the practice of sharing time and joy with others can promote a positive mindset.
Benefits of Festive Socialising
Socialising can be overwhelming but can be extremely beneficial to mental health. While maintaining government rules to ensure everyone’s safety, socialising with others is a fundamental element of well-being.
Christmas socialising encourages a sense of belonging developed within friends and family circles.
Socialising and spending time with loved ones and friends has been proven to provide mental health benefits such as:
- Increased mood
- Reduced stress
- Decreased anxiety
Around Christmas, spending time with people you haven’t been able to see frequently, can improve mental health and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Sharing positive experiences and emotions with others not only has a positive impact on yourself but the people around you.
Practising Gratitude at Christmas
Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation and is an element of maintaining well-being and mental health.
Benefits of Gratitude Include:
- Increased well-being
- Positive emotions
- Sense of connection
- Stronger relationships
- Better sleep
- Less stress
Christmas and the holidays are a great way to practice, maintain and encourage gratitude, especially within the concept of giving and receiving gifts.
To practice and positively reinforce gratitude you can try:
- Write a thank-you note/message: Doing something small to say thanks for a gift or event is an expression of gratitude. This can be done in the form of a card, text, email or social media message. This not only benefits yourself but also passes your gratitude onto someone else.
- Visit someone: Spend time with a friend or loved one. Express your gratitude for their support or for the day you spend together.
- Keep a journal: A gratitude journal is a great way to keep track of positive things in your day. It can help you reflect on the benefits of the past. This can be as simple as being thankful for rain after a hot day.
- Acknowledge your gratefulness in the moment: It’s nice to be around others and recognise the feeling of gratefulness while in the presence of people you love. Thinking about gratitude can solidify feelings of happiness and belonging.
Finally, Christmas and the holidays are a chance to dedicate time for yourself too. Don’t forget to treat yourself with patience and gratitude. Most importantly, enjoy this time with your loved ones after a long time apart.