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Christmas Day 2014 marked the centenary of the famous ‘Christmas Truce’ in WW1, where English and German troops abandoned their trenches and met in ‘No-Man’s-Land’. This particular day of ceasefire saw the troops exchanging handshakes, good wishes and sharing meal rations, before engaging in a game of football. This union formed through sport and festivity lasted only for Christmas day, before the separate armies returned to their stations and resumed fire.
This unusual Christmas phenomenon is noted in history as one of the only times in war that the spirit of human kindness has been truly displayed for the world to see, and at the 100 year anniversary of the event, we can argue it is applicable now more than ever.
For decades, the modern world has been filled with war, militancy, terrorism and many other horrific acts of violence that the tabloids have been reporting right, left and centre. Sadly, we cannot literally persuade the world to ceasefire, but can we apply the similar concepts that occurred a century ago to our own personal lives? Families, friendships, and relationships are all complicated things, and it is normal to argue with those who are close to you, but perhaps this New Year we can resolve to stop the arguments and fighting in our own lives in order to make the world, or at least our individual bubbles, a nicer place.
As difficult as this sounds, creating a positive environment or interactions with others will actually make life easier for you in the long run. According to the Huffington Post, our brains are programmed to have a specific reaction to a negative thought, for example, as cave people, if a Mountain Lion crossed our path, there would only be one solution: to run away. Our mind is still trained instinctively to only come up with one solution to a negative thought, therefore the negativity caused in a hostile environment could actually make your thought processes narrow and limited.
Similarly, it has been shown in work environments that positive surroundings and interactions between colleagues outperform negative work environments. So why not apply this to families and friendships? If you are feeling positive at home, your work will be better.
The best reason to persuade yourself to ‘ceasefire’ this New Year is that scientific research shows that people who express positive thought an emotion are likely to live longer. This study was conducted on Nuns, and shows that the women who force themselves to live in a positive environment actually live on average 10 years longer.
It is not always possible to stop fighting with those close to you, but why don’t we all honour the phenomenon of the ‘Christmas Truce’ between the British and Germans in 1914, and attempt to make 2015 a more positive place to live in amongst all the political turmoil we currently face?