Christmas is coming, and it’s a toss-up: you either love it, or hate it!
Every one of us attaches a different meaning to Christmas: be it family, gifts, celebrations, feasts. Or mandatory meetings, stress, melancholy, preparation anxiety. Whatever our thoughts about Christmas, it certainly won’t go unnoticed!
But what do our brain cells think about it?
The atmosphere of celebration that surrounds Christmas favors serotonine and dopamine production. These are the neurotransmitters that are in charge of our wellbeing. In particular, serotonine stimulates our sense of belonging, while dopamine operates directly on the reward and gratification circuits.
A Christmas worthy of its name is spent with the family. The feeling of calm and safety associated with these moments is caused by oxytocin, the so-called “hormone of love”, responsible for maternal instinct and family bonds.
Says the hypothalamus, a concentrate of nerve nuclei that, when we eat too much, is activated triggering a slight inflamatory state in the body. Nothing serious, as long as it is an isolated incident…like, for example, the Christmas feasts!
What happens to our body right before Christmas, when we are busy rushing for last-minute gifts and preparation? In those hectic moments, adrenaline and cortisol make their entrance. Cortisol, known by many as the “stress hormone”, affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for long- and short-term memory. That’s why we feel so stressed up by the fear of forgetting something or by the necessity to manage multiple tasks at the same time!
Acts of kindness stimulate happiness nerve cells: this is a fact proven by neuroscientific research. Thinking, searching and buying presents for the people we love favors endorphin production, creating a positive circuit that makes up for the stress… and the money spent!
If you’ve seen the animation movie INSIDE OUT (and if you haven’t, do it now!), you know very well that our mind acts and reacts according to complex synergic mechanisms involving the most diverse emotions. It is no wonder then that Christmas creates opposite feelings within us.
We sincerely wish you to have the positive ones take over!