Spring is in the air. It doesn’t take but a short walk in the sunshine to know that Spring is a time of new growth and change. It’s all around us. Flowers bloom and fill the land around us. Lawns grow a deeper green that reflect the clean air. The days are longer and warmer. Our emotions are lifted by the new life that seems to be everywhere.
Spring is commonly thought of as a time of new growth. New life is born again and it is generally thought of as the start of new times. It is at this time of year that most people look forward to better times. They feel less sluggish, more open to investing in new ideas and new opportunities, both big and small.
Spring is a symbol that most people can appreciate. Regardless of the culture, spring is seen as a sign of rebirth and new beginnings. Whether it’s seen as the time of Christian resurrection or the fertility rites of pagans, springtime has never been a season to go unheralded.
The word Easter is derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre, who is worshipped by some neopagans. She is associated with various aspects of renewal of life, spring, and fertility. Modern worshippers describe Eostre as a “goddess of Dawn” based on the etymological association of her name and the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘dawn.’
The underlying pagan and pan-religious symbol of rebirth can be seen in the egg motif of Easter, with the continuity of life, and the Passover ritual cited in the book of Exodus.
Even the Christian tradition of Pancake Day reflects the need to clear out the larder of eggs, butter and milk before the beginning of Lent, a season that is generally considered a time to reexamine our lives and take on a new time of hope. The associated festivals are a call to positive-thinking. And how can anyone not be inspired by the spirit of optimism that springtime brings?
The growth of positive psychology is due in part to the research done into the important emotions of hope, pleasure, humor, joy, excitement, pride and involvement to human happiness.
Dr. Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, has shown that emotions such as optimism have a major effect on human behavior. Not only do optimists get sick less often and recover from illnesses faster than others, but they also end up living longer.
An important finding of these psychologists is that optimism can be grown in the human system. Not only that, but they can also be more resistant to depression, even when bad events do occur. Optimism consists of two important dimensions: permanence and pervasiveness.
By contrast, pessimistic people believe that the reasons for bad things that happen to them are permanent. On the other hand, optimistic people consider them temporary.
Optimists build the habit of recognizing challenges and pessimistic thoughts, something that is made easier with Spring by throwing open the windows and letting in fresh air and sunlight.
Spring has long been associated with change and renewal. Who, for example, has ever done a “fall cleaning”? This is a common way to embrace the sense of optimism and enthusiasm inherent in Spring.
Ultimately, Spring is about new opportunity, a time of change and cultivating new personality characteristics. These include courage, optimism, and belief in ourselves. Interestingly, this feeling is perhaps the most important since it casts out fear.
As Springtime days become longer and warmer, we should use that time to renew our senses of freshness in order to give ourselves something to be savored in the future and appreciated in the years to come.