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How Celebrating with Gratitude is Good For You – And Others
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Sharing a problem halves it. Sharing joy and good news doubles it.

Celebrating positive, grateful experiences multiplies happiness and strengthens relationships with others. It is also good for your health.

I am in a season of multiplying joy by celebrating some really grand events. Graduations and weddings.

 

Nicole Graduation

 

Both my daughters graduated from college this month. And we are celebrating big time !!

Nicole earned her M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University.  Caitlin earned her B.A.in Interpersonal Organizational Communication from Azusa Pacific University. Yippee Yay !!

Then, we got on a plane and flew to the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia to the Bellfry at Broadview Ranch so we can join in celebrating my niece Ashley’s wedding (my daughters were bridesmaids).

 

 

Wedding

 

 

Wonderful, positive experiences happen to us often, and really significant special celebrations are landmarks along our journey. But we don’t always take full advantage of the opportunity to capitalize on the benefits, to really celebrate and savor them.

According to an article in Psychology Today, researchers have identified two main tendencies that keep us from experiencing, extending, and expanding our joy: the negativity bias and habituation.

Avoid Hindrances to Expanding Your Joy

– The Negativity Bias

Our minds tend to zoom in and notice the negative more than the positive. We linger and focus on what is broken rather than what is beautiful. What we don’t have rather than what we do. What we are losing rather than what we are gaining.

We ask “why me?” in a deprived way rather that “why me?” in a wonder struck, humbling grateful way.

When we understand God as good and loving, we flourish. 

 

Life is a constant ‘examen’.  Being aware of what we are most grateful for and what we are least grateful for.

How we experience God’s presence in all things and how we long for more.

Along with the many wonderful transitions in life, there are also necessary losses.

Graduations and weddings bring change and loss as well as anticipation of a new journey.

So we hold the tension of both at the same time. If we are not careful and intentional, the fear and loss can dominate.

The lifelong challenge is to lean more towards love, gratitude, beauty and goodness. A ratio of three to one.

– Habituation 

Another hindrance to fully embracing the joy of celebrating is when, at first, we get a boost of happiness from a new experience,vor enjoy a special occasion. Its novel. We are curious, pay attention and notice. Enter into the festivities.

It is exciting for a while, but then the familiar looses its luster, becomes the same old same old. It becomes routine and boring.

Just another thing to go to. No big deal. Been there done that. Overrated.

 

Be Intentional to Celebrate Positive Experiences

We must counteract these natural default tendencies by choosing to live fully alive to all the beauty, goodness and wonder in life.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Carpe Diem.

Highlight and share in each special occasion of happiness and gratitude in life.

Other research shows that discussing and joining in celebrating positive experiences leads to heightened well-being, increased overall life satisfaction, vitality and even more energy. Sounds very convincing to me.

Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.    Charlotte Bronte

Pleasure has no relish unless we share it.  Virginia Woolf

We need witnesses to share in our joys and grateful experiences. It multiplies the benefits.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind on making the most of celebrating with gratitude.

 

1.     Celebration is a spiritual practice

 It is good to give thanks to the Lord. It pleases the Lord and it has great benefits for you and others around you.

The Bible and Judeo – Christian heritage is filled with traditions of dancing, singing, feasting and other rituals while celebrating special occasions.  It is important to give thanks for what the Lord has provided, what He has done. For how far you have come, what you have accomplished.

So throw a party. Give cards and gifts. Express words of encouragement and affirmation.

 

2.     Join in and ‘be there’

Create fun, meaningful celebrations and symbolic meaning-making rituals. Invite others to join in and celebrate with you.

If at all possible,  join in wholeheartedly to celebrate special occasions.  Show up with your smiling, happy self and add to the festivities. If you can’t be there in person, explore other ways of acknowledging the occasion.  Shared joy strengthens relationships connections. Shared joy increases the joy.

Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.  Albert Schweitzer

Happiness held is a seed. Happiness shared is a flower.

3.   Savor times of celebration

In the book Hardwiring Happiness, new brain science reveals how we can learn to override our brains default to ruminate over hurt feelings, bad experiences and the negative.  Because when we take in and focus on the sad, difficult and brokenness in life, it makes us worried, irritated, stressed and insecure. It hinders us from flourishing in the vitality that God has created us for.

Safety, satisfaction and connection. 

Every day is filled with opportunities to bask in the warmth of love, joy, peace and ways to build our inner strengths.

Paying attention, noticing and taking in the good – in and around us – enriching and absorbing times of celebrating with gratitude can actually change your brain and your life for the better.

When you learn to maximize ordinary and special occasions of goodness you can create a more beautiful brain, mind and life.

By maximizing opportunities to take in the good, celebrate with gratitude, you will naturally cultivate the benefits of more joy, calm, inner strength and intimate connections.

Let the joyous celebrations continue

In a few months, our family will celebrate with my nephew and his wife around the first great grandchild. He will definitely be warmly welcomed with fanfare

Then shortly after that, we will be feasting and dancing for joy at my daughter Nicole’s wedding.

There is so much to be grateful for.

Bunches of happiness flowers to savor and enjoy.

Beautiful brains and lives to be enriched.

     May we each spread and multiply great fruitfulness of celebrating  joy to those around us.

 How about you?  

–  In what ways can you highlight and celebrate with gratitude any special occasions in your life right now?

–  What ‘good news’ can you join in and ‘be there’ for, multiplying the joy by celebrating with others?

 

 

  • Amy Alves

    I always appreciate the words you share Catherine. Yes. A whopping “YES” to discovering all that God has designed our lives to be! Beautiful pictures of your family! Thank you sister. ~Amy Alves

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