Celebrate? With all that’s going on in our economy, our nation—our world? Given the challenges of the day, you may be thinking that’s the last thing you’ll be doing now, or anytime soon. If so, let me encourage you to think again. Now, of all times, we need to celebrate wherever and whenever possible.
In their book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is one of the most important ways that we express gratitude. Celebration is gratitude in action, and celebration—like rest, seat belts, and green leafy vegetables—is good for us!
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 your way. It’s a fact that gratitude actually creates joy within our souls.
Celebration is good for your health. The gratitude that wells up from the act of celebration has been studied scientifically for its health benefit. 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.
Celebration creates a circle of love. When we rejoice in the presence and accomplishments of others, they feel uplifted. Research has shown that acts of gratitude encourage those around us, creating a circle of reciprocal love.
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.
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 even positive thoughts.
Celebration heals. According to a recent study on organ donations, the more gratitude a recipient of an organ heals, the faster that person’s recovery. There were 74 transplant recipients of either a heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas who participated in the study. Those recipients who expressed gratitude—directly, or indirectly by journaling—felt physically better and functioned at a higher level than those who did not.
Looking at the calendar, it’s easy to see natural reasons to celebrate—Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s. So pull out all the stops. Celebrate! But don’t let your celebrations end there. Look for every reason imaginable to celebrate: the first day of summer, last day of autumn, the first snowfall, the shortest day of the year, a child’s progress report, the 100th day of the school year, birthdays, anniversaries, significant milestones, important events.
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.