Lifting your spirit, smiling, laughing, core energy, soul renewal, divinity, warmth. Don’t these words sound inspiring? They may even make you feel relaxed and warm inside. On these cold winter days the tiniest of things can stir and warm our souls.
A ray of sunlight reflecting through the window, the first daffodil, a sign of movement, new activity and the lifting of spirit are all feelings, observations and thoughts that can help us to renew our souls after damp, cold weather conditions. It is important to form balance and reunite with our passions whether its making plans for Spring, gathering with old friends, clearing out the clutter or falling in love again.
Sensing the purity of a new season can light the way for us and interestingly a warm feeling of nostalgia can also help us to regain our sense of inner strength and purpose. Yes, passing over fond memories, taking a trip down memory lane- both mentally and physically. A recent study from the University of Southampton shows people actually feel warmer and have a higher tolerance for cold temperatures when recalling nostalgic memories of the past. The study explains that while nostalgia is known to help combat psychological pains such as loneliness, there are physiological effects as well.
For example, one participant was placed in a cold room. They were instructed then to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their past. They were then asked to guess the temperature of the room. Those who recalled a nostalgic event perceived the room that they were in to be warmer. It may seem ludicrous to think that our emotions and memories can change the way we deal with situations but when we are stressed, nervous or anxious our body will automatically take these feelings on and signals from the brain inform our bodies about this.
For example, our blood pressure may go up, we may start to shake or sweat and in general feel as if we are in great danger. But when we take control and imagine instead that the situation is actually “ok” our bodies instantly begin to retain a sense of calmness and peace. The ability to change and create movement within ourselves can be very rewarding.
Even just by remembering a moment that made us feel warm and fuzzy inside. For example waiting for a bus in the cold, hard rain after a long miserable day will undoubtedly make you feel even worse about your day. But if you were to recall a moment of heat in your life such as a warm, sunny holiday or a sweaty concert that you went to the previous Summer you will instantly start to feel the effects of that moment making you feel a little warmer inside again making the anticipation of your bus even more bearable!
Here are some things you could try to warm both your body and your soul:
Music, memories and magic!
Researcher at the University of California, Davis, believes that the region of the brain where memories of our past are stored and retrieved also serve as a hub that links familiar music, memories and emotion. The discovery may help to explain why music can elicit such strong responses from people with Alzheimer's disease, said the study's author, Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain. Interestingly many of us recall happy memories whilst listening to some of our favourite songs or soundtracks and nearly all of us have at least one song that reminds us of a warm and happy time in our lives. Playing a song over from the past can help us to restore that happy feeling once again.
Think warm thoughts only
Remembering times where you felt warm and comforted as a child, cherished as a mother/father, or worshiped by a lover. All these feelings make us feel as if the world is our oyster, like we have absolutely nothing to lose. Casting our minds back and remembering a hug that we received from someone special, a postcard from a long distance or a bouquet of flowers for hard work our essentially ways to enhance our inner wellbeing.
A trip to memory lane
Going somewhere that reminds you of your childhood – the old park you use to meet up in, the bike shed where you received your first kiss or your parent’s old tree house where you exposed all your secrets. This could be anything! Even a holiday resort that you want to go back to. Whatever lane you choose to travel down should be a lane that takes you back to that warmth and glow that once filled your heart and soul. Even if you simply choose to imagine this scenery on a cold, dark night, the result can only be a good one!