The car sped down the road, weaving through traffic at a moderate 45 miles per hour.  Inside the car, John Williams’s Star Wars soundtrack blared through the speakers. In the driver’s seat, sat a very excited and giddy 32 year old man: me. I was on my way to see the premiere of the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. To say I had dopamine flowing in my brain would be an understatement; it was an absolute flood of the feel-good neurochemical. For me, Star Wars is more than crazy aliens, space battles, and strange worlds. It doesn’t bring just a little spark of excitement and dopamine that fades away quickly. It’s deeper and more meaningful than that. The stories in those movies are a direct connection to my childhood that take me back to a place of childlike wonder and excitement.  

FAITH and BELIEF

One of my favorite Christmas movies, The Santa Clause, portrays a dad who turns into Santa Claus. Throughout the movie, his son, Charlie, is a constant pillar of faith and belief, even when all the adults are doubting Santa’s existence, including his dad who is becoming Santa! There’s a great line at the end of the movie from Charlie to his skeptical psychiatrist stepdad. As his step-dad realizes Santa is indeed real, Charlie says, ¨That’s ok Neil.  You were just denying your inner child.¨ This concept of connecting to your inner child has been around for awhile in the psychology world, but we as adults constantly forget it, especially in times of stress.

Rediscovering Your Inner Child

This Christmas, find ways to get as excited as the kids you see running around the living room. Remember what it was that got you fired up as a kid. Some of the best moments of my days as a 32-year-old come from space movies, riding a bike, or rolling on the floor with my daughter. There is real power to seeking nostalgia and rediscovering your ability to see things from a child’s perspective. It’s a lot more pleasant than sitting around the dinner table debating stock trends or politics.  

Take Time to Enjoy the Moment

The Last Jedi exceeded my expectations. I went in fully committed to enjoying the experience, so much so that I would have had a good time even if the movie was just okay.  My hope is that you find ways to fully commit to enjoying the moment this Christmas season.  The best examples of how to do that are the little ones running around. Let’s take a lesson from them. Merry Christmas!

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