Store windows, Christmas trees, Advent calendars: the countdown to the end-of-year holidays has well and truly begun, imbuing adults and children with an (almost) magical aura. Good news, you don’t have to do without these moments of magic, which have a thousand and one virtues for your health. And it’s science that says it!
Have you ever let yourself be seduced by a good Christmas movie, a steaming cup of cinnamon tea in hand, in the middle of a living room lit up with all kinds of garlands? A cocooning moment placed under the sign of relaxation and magic, no offense to those who see it as kitsch or sentimentality. If the end-of-year celebrations are not always unanimous, it must be admitted that they have the merit – for some at least – of being akin to a magical break in the frantic rush that constitutes everyday life. And for good reason, they would be as good for morale as for physical health, as many scientific experts have revealed. We tell you all about the benefits of the most anticipated time of the year.
The magic of Christmas movies
Stimulating dopamine, which is more commonly called the ‘happiness hormone’, is one of the interests of binge-watching Christmas films. These are scientists and health professionals who say it! Several studies have looked into the subject, demonstrating that these fictions were good for morale and, more specifically, for the brain. This is what Dr Jo Gee, psychotherapist, explained to British media LADbible in 2019: “Watching Christmas movies can actually make you happy, due to the neurological effect that watching has on the brain. When we watch enjoyable films, our brain releases dopamine and oxytocin, our feel-good hormones that put us in a good mood and make us want to connect with others.” A good reason to binge “My In-Laws, Christmas and Me”, “Mom, I Missed the Plane!”, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” without feeling guilty.
Decoration beneficial for the mood
Some wait until the last moment to install the traditional tree in the middle of the living room, others get to work as soon as possible, decorating their interior with a host of garlands and other magical objects, to get into the holiday spirit . All of this creates a warm and cocooning atmosphere, which could prove beneficial for morale. “Holiday decorating can give us a little boost of feel-good hormones that can scientifically improve our mood“, Neha Chaudhary, psychiatrist, recently explained to the online magazine Well+Good. Between comfort, conviviality, and nostalgia, this shared moment would also stimulate the famous ‘happiness hormone’, essential for being in a good mood.
Christmas spices, health benefits
The holiday season is not only good for morale and mental health, it can also help improve physical health. The proof with the spices that we tend to consume more at this time of the year. Cinnamon is particularly rich in antioxidants to fight against damage caused by free radicals, and has anti-inflammatory properties, just like nutmeg which is also good for digestion and sleep, while cloves are beneficial for soothing pain (teeth, throat) and have antibacterial properties which help fight certain infections. Note, however, that in terms of diet, the end-of-year celebrations are also a period rich in fat, alcohol, and sugars, so excesses should be limited as much as possible.