The Cold is Just a Memory

coat_9218 Along with other memories that warm the heart.

It may seem strange to write about winter when everyone is looking forward to the summer. To many, including myself, summer can be considered the best of the seasons. Who doesn’t enjoy longer days, soaking in the sun on the beach, hiking in the woods, strolling in the park, or simply not having to deal with the biting cold? In the cycle of life, summers makes up for the winters.

Psychological studies have shown that we tend to overestimate the happiness we expect to get from good events (eg, winning the lottery) as well as how bad we will feel with negative events (eg, losing a limb). These are extreme examples, but the findings similarly apply to simpler things like students getting a grade higher or lower than expected. The point is that our happiness tends to settle around a certain base level.

This is not to say that we do not celebrate summer. On the contrary psychological studies show that one way to increase our happiness is to savor our positive experiences, being mindful and grateful for them. Then we can enjoy them thrice — when anticipating them, while experiencing them, and then remembering them.

Which brings me back to winter. When I look back at the last one, I remember the times spent with loved ones, the heartfelt conversations, the laughter in family gatherings, the hugs that warm even the coldest freezing nights.

Winter isn’t too bad. We can make summer even greater.

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