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Learn to live in the moment this holiday season

By: Tim W. Callaway

  |  Posted: Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 10:29 am

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Just in time for Christmas, researchers are warning consumers of the prevalence of “Photo Taking Impairment Effect.”

Say what? FYI: we apparently live in times offering PTIE to go along with PTSD, not to be confused with STDs or the SPCA, OK? Got it? GFY!

Here’s what the report says: “The modern obsession with photographing every detail of happy occasions such as birthdays or weddings could be damaging our ability to remember them, according to U.S. research. A study has shown taking pictures rather than focusing fully on the events in front of us prevents memories from taking hold.”

According to Dr. Linda Henkel of Fairfield University, “people so often whip out their cameras almost mindlessly to capture a moment, to the point that they are missing what is happening right in front of them. When people rely on technology to remember for them – counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”

This tidbit of info got me thinking about something we hear much talked about at this time of year – the stresses of the holidays and how to survive them. Certain stresses, of course, arise due to our internal reactions to external stimuli – what to wear to the company Christmas party, for example, can be a stressor given the value our culture attaches to fashion. Preparing Christmas dinner for the extended family can be another source of stress given the importance our society places on culinary preparations, presentations and experimentations.

One of the problems with “keeping up with the Jones’s,” however, is that the Jones’s keep moving on and then you have to keep up with the Smiths.

There is wisdom, therefore, in making a concerted effort during this season to withstand popular culture’s attempts to squeeze us into its ever-changing moulds. Last time I checked, moulds at this time of year are best used for gingerbread-men, stars, snowmen, that sort of inanimate, incapable-of-independent-thought type of object.

Be strong, then! Don’t relinquish control of your life to society’s flimsy dictates. As I understand it, the identification of syndromes like “Photo Taking Impairment Effect” remind us of the wisdom of learning to slow down, breathe deep, and live in the moment. Indeed, let’s avoid getting so caught up in savings the moment that we neglect savoring the moment!

Tim is pastor at Faith Community Church, Airdrie. He can be reached at


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