Cel­e­brate! It makes you health­ier Reap the re­wards of mak­ing the good times last

When you get fes­tive, your brain and body reap a cas­cade of health perks. Here’s how it hap­pens, plus proven ways to make the ben­e­fits and the good times last!

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - January Contents -

The pos­i­tive vibes in the air at this time of year have real, pow­er­ful effects on your men­tal and phys­i­cal health. Cel­e­brat­ing sets off a cock­tail of brain chem­i­cals that give you a nat­u­ral high.

THE STAR IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Oxy­tocin This hor­mone is as­so­ci­ated with bond­ing and hap­pi­ness and is re­leased when you’re around peo­ple whose com­pany you enjoy.

No­ra­drenaline This neu­ro­trans­mit­ter sky­rock­ets when you so­cialise and helps you feel en­er­gised and happy.

En­dor­phins These feel-good chem­i­cals are re­leased when you laugh, dance and in­dulge in a drink or two.

But, these sub­stances do a lot more than just boost your mood. Oxy­tocin may also help re­pair in­jured mus­cles and heal wounds, no­ra­drenaline is crit­i­cal for fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion, and en­dor­phins can help re­duce pain.

LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!

The party mind­set can also im­prove mem­ory. Cel­e­bra­tory times are of­ten men­tally en­gag­ing, re­quir­ing pretty high-level brain ac­tiv­ity. At a so­cial event there’s lots of vis­ual stim­u­la­tion be­tween the venue, dec­o­ra­tions, food and peo­ple. You may have to nav­i­gate com­plex re­la­tion­ships (‘Mum and Dad, meet my new part­ner, Ziggy!’) and par­tic­i­pate in mul­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions, all while em­ploy­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion skills, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic and jug­gling a plate of mini sausage rolls. It’s the brain equiv­a­lent of a full-body work­out!

HOL­I­DAY CEL­E­BRA­TIONS

These are es­pe­cially pow­er­ful be­cause, at this time of year, al­most ev­ery­one is in on the fun, and that shared sense of pur­pose ac­tu­ally strength­ens the gains. We are wired to mir­ror oth­ers’ emo­tions, so when we’re around peo­ple who are also par­ty­ing, it deep­ens our own ex­pe­ri­ence.

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