The festive season is upon us and there are going to be some year-end social functions that fill your calendar. The essence of many of these gatherings, is celebration and that word has a deeper meaning that may surprise you.
Celebrations are about more than getting together to overindulge, socialise and be seen. We see the negative effects of the way we celebrate with the massive increases in road deaths that happen over the holiday season.
We want to be able to get together with people and look back at shared challenges and victories and look ahead to new possibilities and it is useful that we do.
We want to be able to let our hair down and relax in the company of family, friends and colleagues, and it is useful that we do.
The word celebration comes from the Latin word celebrare which means to “assemble to honour.” So, the essence of celebration is twofold.
1. To assemble – to gather, to meet and to congregate.
We are social creatures and this year we’re going to be forced to do it differently. The state of the world right now means that social interactions have changed. Many companies won’t have year-end parties and many families won’t be able to gather like they would like to.
Social connection is a vital part of our well-being. Its opposite, social isolation is a big problem.
Social isolation is a potent risk factor for ill health and early death and is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having high blood pressure. It is twice as deadly as obesity. Loneliness weakens your immune system and puts you at risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes. A lack of social ties is strongly associated with mental decline, poor physical conditioning and poor balance and co-ordination.
“Social isolation is the best-established, most robust social or psychological risk factor for disease out there.
Nothing can compete.“– Steve Cole PhD
This is why ‘social distancing’ is such a poor command that has been handed down from on-high. While physical distancing might have some benefit, there is nothing beneficial about putting more social distance between us.
2. To honour – to hold in great respect, to value and to cherish.
When we honour something or someone, we recognise their value in our life. Honouring then, is a form of gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the highest states of being that we can move into in our lives. Studies show that having and expressing higher levels of gratitude are linked with improved immune function, better cardiovascular health, stronger relationships, improved productivity and even better brain function.
Gathering in gratitude for people and events of the year seems like a worthwhile endeavour. Doing it with intention to move into 2021 as more resourceful, happier and healthier people makes it even more powerful.