Celebrate? Really? Whenever I turn the TV news on, I am reminded of all that is wrong in our world. There seems to be precious little to celebrate about. Yet I know that if I focus on what is negative, I have a hard time moving forward. You too? Yet it feels irresponsible to ignore problems, right? Wrong. I learned why we all need to celebrate as much as we possibly can.
Over the last holidays, I found this book - Why Good Things Happen to Good People. The subtitle is impressive - The Exciting New Research that Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life. Who doesn’t want that? One of the keys is celebrating. The authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is one of the most important ways that we express gratitude. They describe celebration as gratitude in action, and celebration—like rest, seat belts and green leafy vegetables—is good for us!
1. Celebration creates joy. Feeling down in the dumps? Celebrate something or someone. The gratitude you feel as a result of celebrating others, or creation in general, will help you to be less materialistic and therefore more easily satisfied with what life brings you. It’s a fact that gratitude actually creates joy within our souls.
2. Celebration is good for your health. The gratitude that wells up from the act of celebration has been studied scientifically for its health benefits. The results prove that gratitude is strongly linked to emotional and physical health. Just five minutes of gratitude can shift the nervous system toward a calmer state. It also heals! According to a recent study on organ donations, the more gratitude a recipient of an organ feels, the faster that person’s recovery. There were 74 transplant recipients of a heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas who participated in the study. Those recipients who expressed gratitude, directly or indirectly in journals, felt physically better and functioned at a higher level than those who did not.
3. Celebration creates a circle of love. When we rejoice in the presence and accomplishments of others, they feel uplifted. Research has shown that an act of gratitude encourages another person and that creates a circle of reciprocal love. All we need is love, right?
4. Celebration moves us from fear to faith. Studies show that the most grateful people have often been through difficult and challenging experiences. Individuals who have overcome adversity are more optimistic and grateful than the average person. That person can see the current situation without judgment and learn from it – and then have faith that it will turn out for the best.
5. Celebration shifts us from tired to inspired. Reminding ourselves of how good life really is cultivates gratitude. Recent research shows that emotions work at lightning speed and often bypass reasoning. By cultivating gratitude, we encourage positive feelings that are almost instantaneous - feelings that are more powerful in their own way, than positive thoughts. From that positive place comes inspiration to make changes – for yourself and the world!
No matter what time of year it is, I challenge you to find more reasons to celebrate. Before you look forward, reflect back to see what you accomplished this year. Celebrate that!
As you look at life through eyes of gratitude, you will discover many reasons to celebrate, no matter what’s going on in the world. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate.
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Cathy Donovan Wagner, The Retail Maven, is the founder of RETAILMavens and works with specialty, independent store owners to help them explode their profit, get better results, have more fun and get better sleep.