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Eat, Drink, & Be Merry

Why It’s So Important To Celebrate

The holidays are upon us and celebrations abound.

This is the time of year when people regularly gather to have a good time, toasting to the year gone by and the one ahead.

And while festivities are an expected part of our December schedule, this isn’t always the case over the remainder of the year.

Celebrations can get crowded out of the natural cadence of our lives.

That certainly is the case for me.

I am the type of person that tends to think “What’s next?” after reaching a milestone.

When I have success in work or my personal life, my mind quickly shifts to the future — wondering how I can sustain it, or what my next achievement or accomplishment will be.

I used to think that success would automatically cause me to pause and revel in the moment. However, I now realize that there needs to be a very conscious effort to celebrate.

And I now also recognize the critical importance of doing so.

One of the reasons celebration is so important is that it brings us together to socialize with family and friends — and it turns out that social connection is the greatest predictor of overall happiness. In fact, research has shown that everyone is happier when they socialize, even introverts.

Celebrating regularly also leads us to develop an overall grateful attitude toward life — enjoying what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have or only on what we want. Studies show that people who cultivate a daily attitude of celebration and gratitude have more energy, less stress, sleep better, and have improved overall physical health.

Celebrations also provide us the opportunity to take a much-needed break, to reflect, and to reset. This essence was captured perfectly by David Campbell, former senior fellow with the Center for Creative Leadership, when he said, “Celebrations are the punctuation marks that make sense of the passage of time; without them, there are no beginnings and no endings. Life becomes an endless series of Wednesdays.”

It turns out that celebration is as essential in business as it is in our personal lives.

According to James Kouzes and Barry Posner, best-selling authors of The Leadership Challenge, work celebrations are critical for teamwork, trust, and cultivating an overall environment of energy, rejuvenation, and fun.

Kouzes and Posner point out that “people who work for leaders who more frequently celebrate rate their leaders’ effectiveness nearly one-third higher compared to those who say their leaders celebrate less.”

The best leaders in business make sure to acknowledge and celebrate their teams’ successes before delivering the next assignment. And this approach actually reinforces a cycle of high performance — celebrating past achievements boosts confidence and often results in bigger and bolder targets being set for the future.

So whether you’re the life of the party or more of a wallflower, it is clear that celebrating make us happier, more grateful, more mindful, and maybe even more successful, too.

So let’s keep these parties going this holiday season…and well beyond.

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Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and follow him on Twitter.

*This post was adapted from a previous story by Andrew Merle

Certified Nutritionist who writes about living well. Subscribe to my email list at andrewmerle.com.

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