We can get caught up in the holiday season trying to do everything, putting up beautiful decorations, making delicious holiday treats and trying to find the perfect gift. This can be the source of a lot of stress that may be unnecessary. While I love a beautiful gift and have many that I still cherish, looking back, I realize some of the best gifts I have been given were given from the heart and didn’t cost the person any money yet provided me with a sense of love, comfort, friendship and caring. I want to share this with you since perhaps, you may want to give a gift from the heart instead of the pocketbook. It can be a memorable experience, lower your cortisol, the stress hormone, lower other people’s cortisol and raise oxytocin, the hormone of bonding and love in the giver as well as the receiver.
A Heartfelt Thank You
I had patient who I really cared for and admired. She was a hard patient to treat since she didn’t respond right away. At times she would challenge me, resist anything I asked her to do, not follow directions and not follow up. In between visits there were complaints about how she was feeling. Both of us would get frustrated but neither of us would give up. It was challenging and stressful until one day things turned around. I received a note that I keep to this day. When I am feeling down and out, I read some of the notes I have received over the years and some of my patient testimonials. It goes a long way and I am forever grateful for the kind words. Thank someone today, sometimes you never know how important it is.
An Act of Service
Sometimes people just need a helping hand. Wine, chocolates or a gift while kind and loving are no match for reaching out and helping someone in times of need. When my mother died, I dreaded going through her stuff and sorting through what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away. My best friend came to help me and made it fun. We laughed, we cried, we told stories, and she helped me decide what to keep from the massive amount of goods my mother had. My mother saved EVERYTHING. It was a long and tough job made easier by a good friend pitching in that helped me get it done and who could share in the memories. It was an unforgettable experience. Who can you reach out to and lend a helping hand?
There is nothing like a storm with a power outage to take you away from your routine and challenge you in every way possible. After no power for a week, no place to get gas, fighting the cold with no heat, eating cold food and few stores or restaurants open, I accepted an invitation to stay with a friend. We had the best time. For once in a long time, I had the ability to spend quality time with her and her family. We had lots of laughs with her grandchildren who allowed me to be a child again. We made funny videos that looked like funhouse mirrors that distorted our bodies in such an amusing way. We danced and sang and watched them with sheer delight. Having time to talk, share a meal, tell stories and play was extremely therapeutic and a great bonding experience. On another note, whenever I asked my mother what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas, she would always say, “I just want you to spend time with me.” Who needs your time and would appreciate a visit? What a great gift to give!
It was Mother’s Day and the first-year anniversary of her death. My boyfriend took me for a walk to try to distract me. Nothing could console me, and I became very emotional and broke out in tears. He held me in his arms and let me cry my heart out and just held and hugged me until my sobbing stopped. There were no words spoken, just a feeling of comfort and love. At that moment, I fell more deeply in love with him and now we are married. His hugs are the best gift and I get them every day. It always feels special, comforting and loving. Hugs release oxytocin, the hormone that builds bonds. Give someone a hug, sometimes you don’t know how much it is needed.
This holiday season I wish all of you so much joy. Do yourself and others a favor by giving the gift of a wonderful experience. This will release oxytocin which feels marvelous and lower your cortisol. There is no need to find the perfect gift and spend a lot of money since sometimes, the best things in life are free.