A couple of weeks ago now, I opened a letter on September 16 that I had picked up from the post office the day before. I used to go to the post office each day, however now I just go when I feel it is time. When I opened the letter, I saw it was dated September 1, 2021. As I read it, I couldn’t believe my eyes as celebrating my past was not something I was great at (for a few reasons).
Subsequently, today on my journal I wanted to explore more about celebrating and one of the main reasons why I feel it is important to celebrate and take in the good.
Meaning of Celebrate…
Am gathering you know what celebrate means, however just so we are on the same page, so of the definitions or meanings of celebrate include –
- “to take part in special enjoyable activities in order to show that a particular occasion is important” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
- General sense of “commemorate or hono(u)r with demonstrations of joy” ~ Online Etymology Dictionary,
- “to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.” or “to praise (someone or something): to say that (someone or something) is great or important” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
One of the Reasons Why I Have Learnt to Celebrate Over the Years…
As you might know, the brain is wired to have a negativity bias. Basically what that means, is as human beings we have a tendency to focus on what goes wrong in our lives, rather than what goes right. Subsequently – we need training to rewire and focus on what goes right.
Don’t believe me? Think about an average day at work. When you go home, what do you think of most? Is it the challenging comment that was made by a colleague or the project that is behind schedule? The compliment from your boss for a job well done or the acknowledgement from a client?
In Flourish, Martin Seligman writes –
“For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analyzing bad events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.”
Unfortunately, the constant focus on negative events and situations makes life challenging and can make life harder than it needs to be. However, over time I have learnt to take in the good and part of that has been celebrating achievements (which I didn’t tend to do much growing up).
How Have I Learnt to Celebrate or Take in the Good?
There are a few ways I have learnt to take in the good and one way has been using Rick Hanson’s HEAL framework. In his book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence Hanson writes –
“…taking in the good is the deliberate internalisation of positive experiences in implicit memory. It involves four simple steps –
- Have a positive experience
- Enrich it
- Absorb it
- Link positive and negative material.” (p.765).
Each step serves a purpose, when step 1 activating the positive mental state and step 2, 3 and 4 installing it in the brain and you can read more about it here and also watch his video.
Over to You…
Is celebrating one of your habits for wellbeing? If so, feel free to share your favourite ways to celebrate below – is it similar to the taking in the good strategy? Also – if you have gotten this far, sorry I hadn’t shared what I was celebrating, however it is outlined in the graphic below 🙂
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Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. New York, USA: Harmony Books.
Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New Your, U.S.A: Free Press.