Hello Everyone! The new team at the Energetics Institute wishes you all a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year period. We have been busy reorganising both the Energetics Institute and Corporate Energetics businesses and websites these last few months and look forward to 2011 with great enthusiasm. We encourage you to look around the Energetics Institute website as all our pages have changed significantly and we have also added new Articles and other interesting pages related to bodymind science. You can also check out our Events Schedule outlining all events for 2011. (If you have problems viewing our website with your browser, press Ctrl and F5 simultaneously to refresh, and you will see our new content.)
Our focus moving forward with this newsletter is to inform our readers as to new findings, science, opinions and approaches in the bodymind arena. We plan to advise of upcoming events in the community from local, national, and international speakers and researchers that each of you can then make an informed decision about attending.
Our regular monthly newsletters are designed to assist anyone interested in the bodymind sciences, or in furthering their own knowledge on healing and the human condition. We also support many community and charity events and will post an update on these from time to time.
The Spirit of Giving at Christmas
We have all heard and been told to be generous at Christmas. This has often been called the “Christmas Spirit”, and was traditionally seen as a spiritual or religious practice of goodwill. Research in the area of giving, and its link to happiness was highlighted in the recent 3 part ABC TV program “The Happiness Project”. What psychological research has consistently found, coupled with proof from brain scans done on controlled study groups, is that the whole bodymind gets a positive boost by the act of giving.
How does it work ? Well the very intention or thought of giving excites the empathetic centre of the limbic part of our brain, which in turn sends signals to our brain drug store (HPA axis), to release feel-good chemicals into our bodies which relaxes and creates a happy and health stimulating boost. This natural boost produces “good spirits” in us, and it elevates our mood. When we give, the powerful effect of our positive embodiment, plus the excitement of the surprise at the act of giving, relegates the gift itself to a distant third in terms of its effect.
Our brains actually have 2 pleasure and reward centres. Neuroscience speaks of the first being an “anticipatory” pleasure centre where we get a “positive charge” and brain chemical release of dopamine from the anticipation, excitement and thought of giving, and the heightened effect this then creates on our moods. Research has shown how this anticipatory “other person” focus can shift depression sufferers out of their negative self focus and create a positive boost to their bodymind state as a result.
Our second brain pleasure centre is the “satisfaction” opiate/endorphin based area which provides the emotional joy, bliss and happiness in the moment of the exchange or the act of the giving. The resulting felt sense of warmth and positive emotion is the HPA axis releasing powerful endorphins and feel good chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine, both of which are always deficient in depression sufferers. The act of giving can from this place lift a person out of their depressive mood. In others we see a warm glow, an open heart, smiles on faces, and love, empathy and compassion all on display.
The act of giving is a real win-win for all concerned. As you can see the gift is not that important in all this. A lot of unhappiness in our society comes from putting the gift first as the focus, and from the emotional exchange being displaced in the process.
My tip is to give something that shows thoughtfulness and which will resonate as feeling special. This amplifies the whole emotional power of the giving dynamic or process. You may personally make something, give time or service as a gift, or do something special for that person. Remember the gift from its side has no special energy to offer, only you can energise the act of giving from what you embody and contribute. Money in this place is fairly irrelevant.
Some people like the Dalai Lama, live to give to others, to be kind, compassionate and “other focussed”. The emotional and energetic impact of these people on those they meet is profound and life changing. We may not be enlightened, but we can lighten our and others lives, even if just for a while, with the simple act of embodied giving over Christmas.
Getting Support over Christmas
Christmas is a reflective time for all of us. Typically it’s when a couple or family will find time to spend with each other, and where there are less distractions or excuses available to prevent the reality of the state of those connections emerging.
Statistics show Christmas is a common time for divorces or relationship splits to occur, as well as increased forms of violence and assault within relationships and family systems brought together to “celebrate” Christmas.
For the single, separated or divorced person, Christmas can be a painful reminder of loss and loneliness, and the felt separation from fellow men and women. People in these situations can feel depressed and even suicidal at such a time, and feel the stark contrast to others in society who appear to be happy and connected. Many issues can contribute to this stress.
For these reasons, the Energetics Institute offers support for their clients over this most trying period for some. Whether by phone or by person, we will look to support our clients by lending our time and an ear for some support over the traditional Christmas break of December 25 to January 2.
Feel free to contact us and if possible alert your therapist that you may need some support over this time. You can also ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 or myself on 040 7577793.
Director, Energetics Institute