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5 Photos You Must Take This Christmas

5 Photos You Must Take This Christmas

By the time New Years Day rolls around, your digital camera’s memory card and phone should be chock full of images from the season.  You even took a picture of the green Jello you had for dinner on Christmas.  While that image is fun for the time being, who wants to look at a plate of slime the rest of their life?  Maybe if your little brother was to dunk his face in it; but that’s highly improbable.  Make sure you get the pictures of moments that you want to remember over and over again.

1. Family Photo – Yes, that means FAMILY photo- No excuses! Cameras are so neat these days. Most of them come with a “timer” feature, so the entire family can be in the shot without someone needing to push the button. This is important because it is so fun to watch how your family grows and increases in numbers.

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    2. Santa’s best gifts – Are you so excited for a gift that Santa is bringing one of your little ones? When I was nine years old ‘Santa’ gave me a baseball mitt. I was so elated with joy when I opened it that I actually started to cry! Do we have a picture of it? Nope- but I wish we did so that I could see the pure thrill in my face. Make sure you have the camera handy on Christmas morning.

      3. Tradition! – (Yes, I did sing that in my head Fiddler on the Roof style.) The question arises often, “What traditions did your family do when you were little?” Well… take a picture of it! Do you give your kids new pajamas every Christmas Eve, bake cookies for Santa, or sing carols at a retirement home? It’s fun to be reminded of the action items in our lives.

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        4. Deck the Halls with Decorations – I have two reasons for this one. First, my mom, who decorates for Christmas like it’s nobody’s business, states every year that she wished she had taken a picture of her decorations so that she could remember where she put things! Secondly, my husband has inherited several holiday decorations that he used to love growing up, and it would have been cool to see those items in their prime, and feel of their significance.

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          5. A Family that Plays Together Stays Together – The fun of opening presents has come and gone, but the day is not over. Capture the moments of your family actually getting along as they check out each other’s loot. Try to evoke the emotion through the lens that the day is not about the actual presents themselves, but the people that surround us.

            Making sure these photos take their place in your 2012 Christmas photo album is a sure fire way to remember the love that was felt, and the fun that was had. Isn’t that what the season is all about?

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            Featured photo credit:  Photos of children against Christmas lights via Shutterstock

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            5 Photos You Must Take This Christmas

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            Last Updated on October 23, 2018

            Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

            Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

            My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

            Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

            The Neural Knitwork Project

            In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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            While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

            The knitting and neural connection

            The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

            More mental health benefits from knitting

            Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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            “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

            Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

            Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

            She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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            “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

            The dopamine effect on our happiness

            Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

            There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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            “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

            If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

            Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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