From small victories to major milestones, taking time to acknowledge and honor our accomplishments is a practice that holds great value. Beyond the surface-level joy and excitement, there is a needed process happening within our brains when we pause to celebrate.
When we celebrate, our brains release neurochemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating our mood, emotions and overall sense of well-being. As we pause to celebrate, dopamine floods our system which brings a sense of pleasure and reinforces positive behaviors. Serotonin is often associated with feelings of happiness and contentment, helping stabilize our mood, and it brings a sense of satisfaction. Lastly, oxytocin, the love hormone, is released during moments of celebration as we connect and strengthen social bonds, which builds a sense of belonging.
Pausing to celebrate our accomplishments also rewires the brain on a deeper level. By stopping to consciously acknowledge our achievements, we shift our focus towards what is present in our lives, not what is lacking. This reframe activates neural pathways associated with gratitude and resiliency. The more we practice celebration, the more our brain becomes attuned to seeking out the good in our lives.
Our culture has prioritized certain milestones as being worthy of celebration. For example, graduating high school/college, getting married and having a baby tend to fall at the top of the list. Today, remind yourself of all of the milestones of all sizes that you have walked through and will walk through. The power of celebration is just as meaningful.
Yes, celebrate babies and marriage and graduations! Also - don't forget to celebrate:
- Picking up a hobby that dropped off when life got too busy.
- Walking away from a relationship that was hindering you.
- Creating a new life giving routine.
- Finding friends who feel like family.
- Moving to a new city.
- Switching careers.