Family over Politics – the Hunt for a Christmas Tree

by: Brent Smith at the Common Constitutionalist

No Audio Version

Sorry folks, but no Podcast today. For those unfamiliar, I do a video podcast every weekend that airs today. But not this time. No – this time it has nothing at all to do with production problems. It has nothing to do with technical issues, more often than not caused by my own ineptitude.

This time it was pure pleasure. I had a choice to make and I chose family over politics.

Every year my sons and I revel in a trek into the woods in search of a Christmas tree. Sure, we could do it the easy way and pick one out one from the many lots around town. And to be sure, we would likely get a beautiful one.

We could also choose the blasphemous path and buy a synthetic “Fake” tree – maybe hang some pine tree air-fresheners on it to replicate that outdoorsy scent. Yummy!

But we Smith’s enjoy the thrill of the hunt. So off we went, two weekends ago, into the wilderness, to scout for and tag a tree. This year we were exceptionally lucky and found a beautiful 7 ft white pine. And best yet, it was only about a mile in. In years past we’ve been known to trek twice that in seeking out the perfect wild tree. As we strode through the woods, invariably one or the other of my sons, or both, would recount a story from a previous year – “Remember that year when…?” read more

Fab Four Can Heat You Up

Feeling nostalgic about days gone by can make us feel warmer, new research has claimed.

The study investigated the effects of nostalgic feelings on reaction to cold and the perception of warmth.

The volunteers, from universities in China and the Netherlands, took part in one of five studies.

Researchers say that recalling nostalgic events can actually make people feel warmerResearchers say that recalling nostalgic events can actually make people feel warmer

The first asked participants to keep an account of their nostalgic feelings over 30 days.

Results showed they felt more nostalgic on colder days.

The second study put participants in one of three rooms: cold (20C, 68F), comfortable (24C, 75F) and hot (28C, 82F), and then measured how nostalgic they felt.

Participants felt more nostalgic in the cold room than in the comfortable and hot rooms.

The third study used music to evoke nostalgia to see if it was linked to warmth.

The participants who said the music made them feel nostalgic also tended to say that the music made them feel physically warmer.

The fourth study tested the effect of nostalgia on physical warmth by placing participants in a cold room and instructing them to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their past.

They were then asked to guess the temperature of the room.

Those who recalled a nostalgic event perceived the room they were in to be warmer.

Study five again instructed participants to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their past.

Researchers found that even listening to nostalgic music, such as the Beatles, can make us feel slightly warmerResearchers found that even listening to nostalgic music, such as the Beatles, can make us feel slightly warmer

They then placed their hand in ice-cold water to see how long they could stand it.

Findings showed that the volunteers who indulged in nostalgia held their hand in the water for longer.

Dr Tim Wildschut, senior lecturer at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study, said: ‘Nostalgia is experienced frequently and virtually by everyone and we know that it can maintain psychological comfort.

‘For example, nostalgic reverie can combat loneliness.’

‘We wanted to take that a step further and assess whether it can also maintain physiological comfort.

‘Our study has shown that nostalgia serves a homeostatic function, allowing the mental simulation of previously enjoyed states, including states of bodily comfort; in this case making us feel warmer or increasing our tolerance of cold.

‘More research is now needed to see if nostalgia can combat other forms of physical discomfort, besides low temperature.’

The study, published in the journal Emotion, was carried out in collaboration with researchers from Sun Yat-Sen University and Tilburg University.

Attribution: Mark Prigg