It is a privilege to be alive. I'm celebrating my birthday this month. This idea of being alive, of it being a privilege, has been driven home to me in recent weeks. Every school shooting, every kid who will never reach the age of 40, their loss of life makes me keenly aware how lucky I am to be alive.
And I am glad that this feeling of gratitude for being alive is present right now because I also am battling a bit of depression. If you've been depressed or you are depressed, I see you. I see the way depression can pop out of nowhere and hold your head under water, zap your energy, and make you feel like you have nothing to look forward to. Frankly, the way our culture is making hatred a norm these days, I've been feeling very sad lately. So I am carrying both the gratitude of being alive and the sadness that comes with depression. And that's OK.
I have written about and spoken about how gratitude is actually helpful in creating happiness and therefore is good for your health. It turns out that celebrating is also good for your health. I have come across many studies and articles about how celebrating enhances your happiness, improves your ability to live in the moment, and makes it easier to handle life's challenges. That's just three of the many positive benefits. I also have learned through my training to become a coach as well as during my time as a coaching client that what we celebrate expands. It's one of the reasons that when I am coaching clients I always ask them what they are celebrating, remind them that no achievement is too small or too big to celebrate, and use it as a tool to reinforce that they are making positive progress in support of achieving their goals.
It also turns out that celebrating is an antidote to depression. When you consistently celebrate, you feel more optimistic. One of the things I really love about my marriage is that Brian and I cheer each other on and celebrate one another's victories as if they were our own.
In my experience, what prevents us from celebrating our achievements and experiences is the belief that we do not deserve to do this or that it is an act of ego. Please let go of that false myth! You are worth celebrating. In fact, I'd love to hear in the comments below what you are celebrating these days!
Here is a celebration mantra for you from Erin Stutland, author of Mantras in Motion, "When I celebrate myself, I raise my value." Please celebrate yourself and the people around you. It's good for your health!