The GIFT of the Holiday Season: Part 3 of 4

I’ve heard it many times, there is nothing like celebrating Christmas (or any holiday) through the eyes of a young child.  The excitement, the wonder… the FUN! 

When did we start taking ourselves so seriously?  I can’t pick out the exact age, but I know it’s been awhile for me.  As parents, as professionals and with the ever-watchful eye of social media, we have to be careful about what we say and do.  But is all of that restraint good for us?

Not really.  One of the most exciting discoveries in neuroscience in the past two decades is neuroplasticity.  Where we once thought that our brains were done evolving in early adulthood, we now know we have the power to change and grow every day of our lives. 

Where we focus our attention is the area of our brain that is being developed and changed.  *What fires together, wires together*.  We maintain good brain health – and neuroplasticity – by exercising often, eating well, getting enough sleep, living mindfully and enjoying novelty.  Novelty means doing something different.  And there is nothing more spontaneous and novel than having fun!

If optimum brain health isn’t a good enough rationale for fun, also consider it can improve our capabilities at work too.  Most organizations are setting goals that help maximize their change agility, that is, how quickly they can adapt to changing strategic priorities.  Organizations are made of people who need to adapt quickly.  Playing a sport or learning to play an instrument or just taking time off to share some silly adventure with friends, refreshes you.  It takes you out of your serious mindset and you have to be in a different kind of flow. 

Being around young children in the holiday season is very special.  But all of us can inject a little more FUN into this season (and our lives).  Fun makes us feel young and healthy. As it turns out it keeps our brain vibrant and strong and can help us be more effective in our professional lives too. 

Want to have some FUN this holiday season?

  • Gather some friends and recount some fun times.  Laugh until your cheeks hurt. 
  • Experiment with a new recipe that has you and your family trying a food or drink that is outside of your comfort zone.
  • Recreate some of the traditions of your family Christmas that you enjoyed when you were young.  Make angels or a fort in the snow, construct a gingerbread house and watch your favourite holiday specials on TV (with the commercials!). 
  • Enjoy some holiday music by attending a holiday concert or digging out your favourite musical instrument to learn a new tune.