Leverage this practice to supercharge your personal growth (and happiness!)

We begin with celebration in all client/cohort sessions.
Every time.

I have experienced eye-rolls, “I don’t know what to celebrate”, “I knew you were going to ask me this, and I’ve got nothing”, to name a few. The good news is over time, these transform into “ooh! Yes, I have some and they are…”

Celebration isn’t a cheerleading exercise. Reflective celebration is a practice backed by neuroscience and can transform your perspective, perception, happiness, and success.

This is a muscle to build. As a mindset coach, my passion is to teach and inspire clients to work with what they have and it begins with their brains, minds and experience.

Our brains make up 2% of our body’s weight, yet this organ uses 20% of the body’s energy. Learning to work with this powerhouse is a major key to success – whatever you define success to be.

Joyful woman in a red sweater with a triumphant fist pump, celebrating personal success, embodying the spirit of celebration and reflection.

I invite you to walk away from this article with a new exercise that will open up your perception, shine a light on just how much life is FOR you, what you are capable of, as well as the motivation to practice based on evidence of WHY celebration can move the needle on your own success.

Celebration isn’t just fun.

It’s a muscle to workout and a game-changer in reducing resistance, upping connection, and removing perceived obstacles.

Reflective Celebration isn’t a quick-result “trick”. Neurologically, celebration puts you in a more receptive place, more willing to take risks (growth!), and produces a broader perspective. This is a great vantage point to move forward and upward to whatever you set your focus on.

These days you may hear things like “getting in the vortex”, or “raising vibration”. This is reflective celebration.

Celebration beats up on negativity bias.

Negativity bias is an evolutionary aspect in our brains that gives higher weight to negative experiences. It is our brain’s default pattern, born out of survival, *prompting us to avoid harmful things over pursuing a positive option.
In the brain, a negative comment/experience/notion fires off the alarm bell of the amygdala (where 2/3rds of its neurons are wired to listen for negative things). And the negative sticks by default.

For example, you give a presentation and you feel pretty good about it. After, you hear positive feedback…and then that one person in the group gives you negative feedback. Which do you remember? Generally negative feedback has a weight of 5:1 over positive messaging. This was at a time, an important thing to keep us safe, on the tundra, in the tribe. Today – not so much.

For positive feedback/inputs to stick like this, it requires us to hold the thought/feeling/experience in our conscious mind for 12 seconds or more to move this from short term to long term storage.

This is where practising celebration can rewire our brains.

So often we will blow by positive, celebratory things. We’re busy. We’ve been told not to brag, or that it is arrogant to dwell on it. We learn to negate or minimize the positive in the name of ‘being humble’. This is all good, you don’t have to shout everything from the rooftops over and over, just hold the celebration for a little bit longer – consciously.

And over time, you’ll be amazed with the results.

Celebration creates oxytocin.

This is a feel-good neurohormone. It is produced when celebrating, eating chocolate, sex, and getting a compliment from someone that is important to you, to name a few. This hormone is known to enhance connection and reduce stress and allows for greater focus.
Humans are an extremely social species. Being connected, part of the tribe, feeling that connection to another – this is the most important need of a human. (Maslow’s idea of physiological needs being the most important is outdated).

Celebration creates dopamine.

One of dopamine’s functions in the body is motivation and reward. It is a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus and is a treat for the brain. When celebration is practiced, the brain will recognize this action as a rewarding experience and over time this will feed the creation of a (good!) habit.

A diverse group of smiling colleagues giving each other a high-five in a casual office setting, celebrating a collaborative achievement.

Make celebration a habit.

The results from celebration really build on themselves and the process can rewire your brain…over time. Regular celebration opens the door to joy -> that is always present, lying in wait, ready to ambush you at any time.

  1. Find someone to celebrate with regularly.
  2. Go around and celebrate something at the dinner table.
  3. Be in a community that integrates, encourages and practices celebration.

Celebration is fed by reflection. Reflection is another powerhouse process that drives progression and feeds a growth mindset.

Coming back to the idea that positive experiences often, by default, are not stored in long-term storage as regularly as negative experiences (by default) – the power of reflection reminds us of these positive experiences, accomplishments, moments and puts our lives in a more neutral, true, perspective.

How often do you reflect on the last 90-days? The last month? The last week? If you do reflect, how often are you amazed at all that has happened, all you’ve experienced, and how much of it you forgot?

If you do not do regular reflection, please do! (Want more help and inspiration here – reach out to me). More to come on this in the January blog. For now I share a process to utilize Reflective Celebration and shift your brain (and life!).

Stopwatch resting on a blackboard with the words 'PAUSE & REFLECT' written in chalk, symbolizing the importance of taking time for reflection.

Celebration and Reflection process:

  1. Keep it simple. Commit to something that you can do regularly and be successful in following through. This is how you create a habit (you can always add more later!)

Practice regularly and consistently. I can’t emphasize this enough. Our brains store patterns and learn patterns by repetition.

Celebrate something aloud each day.

  1. Pick a time/location to do this. Our brains LOVE a trigger to connect to a regular pattern we are creating. For example, upon awakening (time), when you come through the front door from work (location/time), at the dinner table, etc.
  2. “I am celebrating…” Say this and fill in the blank. It can be celebrating anything, it doesn’t have to be “big”. Celebrate you meditated today. Celebrate you drank 8 glasses of water. Celebrate you held your tongue in that meeting when ‘so-n-so’ (you know the one!) was going on and on. Celebrate that you took time to walk outside. Celebrate a kind word that you received, or gave.
  3. (bonus) say this to a dear friend, loved-one and invite them to celebrate with you. There is SO much power in being acknowledged – supercharge this by doing the following.
    1. You say, “I’m celebrating …”
    2. They repeat it back, “I’m celebrating that you…” (acknowledgement!)
    3. Then they go and you repeat a and b but with you acknowledging them.

Reflection practice

  1. See #1 above and choose a time/place. This can also be done right after something (like a meeting, presentation, date? anything really).
  2. Ask yourself:
    1. What worked well?
    2. What didn’t?
    3. What would I do differently?

This feeds the pattern of a GROWTH mindset and you’ll be amazed at what this will do over time.
Regular reflection and celebration work WITH your brain to transform it and charge personal growth. I encourage you to commit to these practices for at least 30 days, and by that time, I’m confident you will be building habits that you want to continue.

To your well-being.

Much love,

* Norris CJ. The negativity bias, revisited: Evidence from neuroscience measures and an individual differences approach. Soc Neurosci. 2021 Feb;16(1):68-82. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2019.1696225. Epub 2019 Dec 12. PMID: 31750790.