Holiday Micro-Resilience Tip #2 (of 3): Stay Calm with Smells and Bells

Here’s a simple tip for staying resilient over the holidays: immerse yourself in the smells and sounds of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or whatever your own holiday tradition may be. This attention and focus will help you keep from losing your mind when the oven breaks down or your noisy 3rd cousin shows up uninvited.

When I interviewed Dr. Joan Borysenko about resilience, she explained to me how traditional holiday aromas like cinnamon and vanilla penetrate quickly into the limbic system and relax our primitive “fight or flight” instincts. I asked her whether that was because it reminds us of warm memories from childhood. To the contrary, she told me that the causality runs the other way. Certain smells have become holiday traditions specifically because they have that calming effect on the brain. Sounds, like bells ringing, can have that effect as well when they are pure, soothing vibrations.

So, there is very good science behind taking a moment now and then to slow down and let yourself breathe the smells and absorb the sounds around you at this wonderful time of the year.

[If you’d like to give to others the gift of more resilience in 2017, email We’ll send you a certificate you can put under the tree to let people know that you bought them a copy of our book Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive, and Energy and that it will be coming to them at the beginning of February. You will also receive an invitation to attend several free virtual Micro-Resilience coaching seminars in early 2017 that you can pass along.]

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