5 Plus Tips for Happy Christmas Holiday Mental Health
There’s no shame in admitting we judge other people when they gush about watching a cheesy holiday movie. If friends start reposting Hallmark Channel’s reminder of how long it is until Countdown to Christmas on social media, we pause. In this blog, we discuss more than 5 tips for making your Happy Christmas Holiday Mental Health
Secretly, there’s a little spark of Christmas spirit that’s ignited inside but there’s no way we’re going to comment on or acknowledge their silly efforts to engage.
It’s time for this madness to end. It’s okay to like Christmas, even if it’s the middle of April. And now the mental health community is starting to tell us that these sparkly, snowy low-budget productions can be good for our mental health. In fact, our brains crave the predictability of this type of programming. Sign me up!
(It’s worth noting that feel-good movies are not intended to take the place of medical treatment for depression, anxiety, or any other mental condition. The content in this article is intended for entertainment purposes only. There’s no shame in seeking professional help.)
The holidays can feel overwhelming for many people. An almost undetectable tension begins with that first Christmas song over the loudspeakers in a department store. Disappointment, stress, and so many other factors play into bringing on an irritable-bowel syndrome-kind-of-Christmas.
Hallmark, GAC Family, Netflix, UpTV or other network-produced holiday movies can help to release some of that tension. You know that the movie ends with “happily ever after.”
And it’s okay to want and even enjoy those feelings found in a predictable, loving, and compassionate way. Nothing in your life needs to be perfect for you to get lost in a cheesy holiday movie.
Watch. Repeat. Watch again.
Repetition is one of the best-known ways to program your brain to learn. You’ve heard the phrase practice makes perfect? It’s true. Even with a sappy Hallmark or Netflix movie.
Our brains love to be able to recognize patterns. The way the patterns play out in a holiday movie filters into our minds as simple and decent. Immersing yourself over and over again helps those feel-good feels keep flowing throughout the holiday season (or even the entire year)!
Let it, Snow….I mean Let it GO!!!
Even if you’ve led a close-to-perfect life, there’s always a need to be able to take a step back and get a break from reality.
Whether it’s to escape for a while or to just bask in the warmth of a silly, heartfelt story, letting go of logic and reality is a healthy way to release the hardship of life and let it go for the next couple of hours—or more if you’re in it for the long haul.
And Ideas for All
All people can recognize the values and ideals that they want to have in their lives. Hope, love, compassion, happiness, and the ability to grow and overcome could be at the top of what many people believe to be the true meaning of Christmas for them.
With just about every single holiday movie that’s made year after year, these are the things that bring the story together in the end.
And when you consider how many Christmas movies have been made in your lifetime alone, you can see that the formula remains the same.
The storyline may be different in each movie, but these values pop up time and time again. (Clearly, movies like Bad Santa and Krampus are not included in the types of movies we’re talking about. Unless that’s your thing. To each their own.)
Snow Angel Science (Christmas Holiday Mental Health)
There’s no such thing as snow angel science, but if there was, it would have to be pretty cool. The science behind why feel-good holiday movies keep us coming back for more is cool all on its own.
Did you know that there are different types of happiness for people? I didn’t either. But I know that I want more of it.
The first kind of happiness is called hedonic happiness. This happens in moments of pleasure. For example, the momentary enjoyment of a chocolate chip cookie brings about hedonic happiness.
The second kind of happiness is called eudaimonia happiness. This happiness happens when a person feels a sense of belonging and purpose.
Here’s the amazing part of this science—we experience both kinds of happiness while watching holiday movies! Responding to humour, romance, and a satisfying ending is why holiday moviemakers don’t stray from their movie production formula. Even science says that it’s good to give people a reason to feel hope, love, connection, and purpose.
No one is arguing that the plots in most holiday movies are a little hard to believe at times, but the basic emotional connections we as humans need to appear in every single film. Since we can’t buy happiness, at the very least, we know that we can borrow some from a sappy holiday film.
Get Rid of Expectations
The holidays already let people down year after year with loads of different expectations. Yet that is the exact reason why basic holiday movies can do so much good throughout the season (or the entire year)!
Go into watching any holiday movie on any channel with no expectations. If that’s tough for you, try to keep the expectations down to a minimum.
For example, realize that there won’t be any industry awards for anyone involved in the movie. Or accept that every movie will have someone who appears to be intelligent to need a visit back home to realize that they were never really happy in their current life.
Maybe enjoy the fact that not a single child will throw a tantrum or pick their nose throughout the movie. Work within your comfort zone.
Wrap Up the Season (or keep it going all year)
Being able to escape into a movie that is guaranteed to have a happy ending can help you to make it through another holiday season—the science says so!
Don’t take the plot line or acting too seriously, have a little fun tagging along on a Christmas adventure, and, overall, indulge in every cheesy, warm, and joyful emotion as often as possible. Once you do, you can remember why it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
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