I write a lot about happiness because, well, I am happy. It amazes me, at times. I know that I have oodles of reasons for being happy. But it’s the times when the ordinary overwhelms me that I am caught by surprise. I spend time thinking about the blessings in my life because I want to savor them, not take them for granted.
Too often, we are swept up in the busy day to day demands of our lives and we overlook the really significant moments. This leads to feeling drained and empty. Taking a step away from the rat race isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. In the most trying of days, there are things to celebrate. On the most mundane of days, there are things to savor.
Research agrees. I love it when I can back up my theories on life with real science. I’ve become a bit of a neuroscience nerd of late. It’s fascinating! Research shows that relationships, including marriage, friendships, work colleagues and even professional sports teams experience higher levels of commitment, intimacy, trust, and satisfaction when they celebrate more.
Maybe we take for granted that our partners and coworkers know how we feel. It’s not enough – You have to show it. Acknowledging the little things that happen throughout the day has a positive effect on the success of your relationships. Fist pumping, back slapping and just saying ‘thank you’ go a long way.
I remember when our director, Marty, started giving out popcorn and lollipops at the mandatory monthly staff meetings as a way of recognizing people’s anniversaries with the Department. Some complained that it was frivolous and mocked the gesture, joking that their Rolex must be at the jewelers, being engraved. But Marty was not deterred. As time went on, we looked forward to the end of the staff meeting – Not just so it would finally be over, but for the celebration. We’d expectantly look around the room when the staff member’s name was announced and clap when they came forward to receive their “award.” There were even Ooos and Ahhhs when their number of years at the job exceeded ten. Often, it was a bright spot on an otherwise dismal Monday.
All too often, we focus on the negative. There is certainly never a shortage. If you’re not exposed to a Negative Nellie at work, just turn on the news. Between the traffic, the girl at Dunkin’ Donuts screwing up your coffee and the Sox losing last night, it’s no wonder you arrive at the office in a snit. I challenge you to find something to celebrate. Appreciate someone and let them know it. If it’s a nice day outside, ask someone to walk with you to get lunch.
If your day is ordinary and and unexceptional, feel the comfort in it. Savor the opportunity to enjoy the routine.
People who are together romantically usually mark anniversaries by celebrating. What about friendships? They deserve to be honored, too. Whoop it up! Any relationship that you care about should be commemorated.
Don’t wait for Hallmark to make it so. Send a card, write an eMail, pick up the phone. Give your coworker popcorn! Find something to celebrate. Savor the experience. It only takes a moment.