Summer days are starting to dwindle. Daylight is disappearing as the first hints of autumn’s chilly air unexpectedly breezes through garden parties, evening strolls and family barbeques. Change is constant. Whether it’s in relationships, careers or seasons, transition tends to unmask unsettled feelings that manifest as a nervous anticipation of what is to come.

One of the best ways to deal with such shifts is to be mindful of what is stable. Take for example, traditions. Embracing family customs or personal rituals can be a powerful grounding force and a reminder that in an evolving world, some things are constant.

Handwriting my annual Christmas cards and running a half-marathon every spring are some of my personal traditions. The acts themselves are less important than the predictable and comforting senses that each activity arouses. These acts prompt a sense of nostalgia and make me feel more secure. Positive emotions are essential for anyone to adapt in a healthy way to the changing world we live in.

One of my favorite and most long-lasting traditions occurs every Labor Day weekend. Every year I return home to Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Bell / WEBN Fireworks at P&G Riverfest. During this spectacular event - that features a hot display of vibrant lights shooting across the sky, illuminating the night, spilling over bridges, and dancing along the Ohio River – I am transported to a magical world and set free from all the chaos of day-to-day life. The only things that matter during the thirty-minute sensational explosion of light (set to equally electrifying music) are the people around me. It feels familiar and as the glowing sky hovers above, it beams an aura of protection over the thousands of viewers huddled below.

Every year as summer ends it only takes this one event to provide me with a stunning reminder that I live in a beautiful world.

During these hectic times filled with all kinds of uncertainty and development, it has never been more important to take a pause and rejuvenate the spirit. Whether you’re going to soak up the end of summer with one last golf outing, a visit to the beach, or maybe a trip to Cincinnati - this is the time to embrace, start or continue tradition and celebrate!

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About the Author

Helen M. Farrell, M.D.

Helen M. Farrell, M.D., is a psychiatrist with Harvard Medical School. She researches forensic psychiatry and violence.

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