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Evolving Connections Counselling

Relationships, Individuals, Families



Maintaining Healthy Relationships During the Festive Season

Posted on December 14, 2019 at 7:00 AM

This time of year can be fraught with anxiety, stress and disconnection in your relationships. To offset this, it is worth remembering the feeling of joy you get when you give someone a surprise gift that you have made or the mood lift you feel when helping a friend or colleague out.

Studies have shown that performing small acts of kindness benefits mental and physical health. It has also been shown to improve relationships. A recent study observed people who reported experiencing depression. The study spanned three weeks and measured how meditation and performing small acts of kindness affects depressive symptoms. Results showed that there was a reduction in depressive symptoms and that the biggest reduction occured in the people who performed small acts of kindness.

Performing and witnessing kindness has been shown to increase the love hormone oxytocin which brings you closer to those you love. This in turn helps to lower blood pressure and improves our heart health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism and this helps us to manage shyness in social situations. Donating things and volunteering time has also been linked with generating the feeling of happiness, reducing aches and pains and increasing our lifespan.

What better time of year than now to improve your mental and physical wellbeing and enhance your relationships? How about trying a little experiment by performing some small acts of kindness this festive season? Below are some ideas.

1. Tell someone who has made a difference to you that you feel grateful to them. This can be someone that you see often, not so often or that you haven't seen in a long time. You can be radical and do so in the 'old school' way by writing and sending them a card or a letter. Let them know how they influenced you. It might be that they showed you the love of playing an instrument or dancing. It might be that they showed you the love of debate or cooking. It can also be that they helped you to cultivate values such as healthy communication or showing affection with loved ones. 

2. Volunteer your time and talents. What do you enjoy doing? Perhaps you enjoy chatting and connecting with others and would like to spend some of your time volunteering to spend time with people who may be in hospital or are living in aged care facilities. You may love cooking and sharing food and would like to contribute your Christmas signature baking dish to someone in need.

3. Tell someone why you admire them. This can be a family member who is living or deceased. It can also be someone famous like an author, actor or sports person. Chances are that you'll learn a lot about yourself too because we usually the admire people who have traits we share or aspire to have.

Let us know in the comments section how you perform small acts of kindness.

Evolving Connetions would like to wish you good mental health and meaningful connections this festive season and always.

Love, Jo x

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Reply Filomena Distefano-Peek
12:29 AM on December 15, 2019 
Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and ideas about this time of year.
Kindness. I believe is so important to both show it and to receive it. I try to tell people the significance of their actions on me or if I have seen them show others a kindness. This time of year is full on, full of hustle and bustle of so many events and arrangements. Our brains can become cluttered and therefore our souls become thirsty for some TLC. We can be stuck in our heads organising and arranging that we find ourselves in need of a kind smile or just some time out.
Reply ★ Owner
8:26 PM on December 20, 2019 
Thank you for your comment, Filomena. It is such a demanding time of year and we can get caught up in feelings of overwhelm which can lead to thoughts telling us that we are not good enough. Remembering to enact kindness is a sure way to quell negative self chatter and help manage those feelings of overwhelm.
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