How Celebrations Keep the Doctor Away

Some of us know at least one person who’s always looking for a reason to party. Perhaps it’s a friend, family member, co-worker, former schoolmate, or some guy at the gym. Whether it’s a holiday, someone’s birthday, or simply surviving the long workweek, they always look forward to painting the town red. As it turns out, those fun-lovers may be onto something. A study featured in the New York Post revealed that celebrating — big or small — can improve our quality of life. Should we take a page from their book and “get our party on” more often? Let’s explore the scientific truth and discuss ways to include celebrations into our regular routines.


What Is Quality of Life?

Quality of life (QoL) concerns our overall well-being. It’s about living life in a meaningful, fulfilling way, as well as enjoying good health, relationships, and experiences while having a sense of purpose. Some common facets of QoL include personal health (physical, mental, and spiritual), social status, wealth, educational achievements, relationships, work environment, autonomy in decision-making, independence, and physical surroundings. The Quality of Life Research Unit at the University of Toronto also refers to QoL as how much a person can enjoy their life’s valued possibilities. In today’s blog, we will focus on the mental and physical health benefits of celebrations.


The Science Behind Celebrations: How It Improves Your Health

a person smiling while holding a balloon

Celebrating isn’t just fun — it’s actually good for you. According to a 2022 paper published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, celebrations that (1) gather people together, (2) have food and drinks, and (3) highlight a milestone might be the hidden gateway to good health and well-being. They reinforce a person’s social support, providing reassurance that when a problem occurs, their social network will be there to help with the coping process.

Perceived social support has numerous health advantages, including: 

  • Decreased mortality rates: People who feel supported by friends and family tend to live longer.
  • Improved mental health outcomes: Social support contributes to lower levels of anxiety and depression.
  • Healthier heart rate and blood pressure. Feeling supported may function as a buffer against stress, thus providing cardiovascular benefits. 
  • Improved sleep quality: Aside from lowering anxiety, depression, and stress levels, good relationships provide a sense of security, enabling better sleep at night.

Buying a congratulatory gift to celebrate an accomplishment is not the same as celebrating with friends over dinner and drinks, said lead author Danielle Brick, an assistant marketing professor at the University of Connecticut, in an exclusive with Fox News Digital.

Also, a celebration doesn’t need to be grand. It can be as simple as marking someone’s positive life event over delicious food and beverages with loved ones, added Brick.

Life’s too short not to party. While every day cannot be Thanksgiving or Mardi Gras, find reasons to meet up with your favorite people, share some laughs, and relieve stress. Your mind and body are sure to react positively.


How to Celebrate for Improved Quality of Life

a photo of a group of people doing a toast

There’s nothing like talking about life’s highs and lows, laughing hysterically over memories, and making new ones along the way. Whether it’s your birthday or just a dull hump day, if you want to celebrate your wins, here are ways to spark real conversations, reminisce, strengthen bonds, and include celebrations in your routine:

  • Host or attend a party. Parties are a fun way to gather everyone you know, mingle, eat, drink, and celebrate. Whether casual get-togethers or more elaborate festivities, parties give you the opportunity to share laughs, enjoy others’ company, make new memories, and honor milestones.
  • Have a movie marathon with snacks. This tip is for the homebodies who want a cozy and simple gathering, whether to celebrate a birthday or promotion. Curl up on the couch for hours of comedy, action, drama, and plenty of popcorn. Laugh, cry, and connect with friends and family without distraction.
  • Go on an adventure. Hiking, cycling, birdwatching, or trying new group activities creates lasting memories that you can reminisce over forever. Bring sandwiches or light snacks to munch on while you enjoy the sights!
  • Cook a meal at home. Whether you go all out with a multi-course dinner or keep it simple with homemade meals, preparing and enjoying food together is good for your health and relationships. Talk while you cook and bond over your culinary creations.
  • Go on a celebratory walk. Go for a walk and breathe in the health advantages. Exercising releases feel-good hormones that combat stress and anxiety. The fresh air and natural surroundings will do you and your loved ones a world of good, too. If you get hungry, grab a bite to eat and continue celebrating at a nearby cafe or restaurant.
  • Enroll in a class together. Signing up for an educational class together is another way to bond while learning new skills. Choose a workshop that interests you and your circle, whether cooking, photography, painting, music, or self-defense. You can discuss the material, your experiences, and individual accomplishments during breaks and after classes. You can also continue your discussions over lunch or dinner to experience the health benefits mentioned in Brick’s research.
  • Do a random act of kindness. The act of giving back boosts your health, happiness, and sense of well-being. With friends and family, you can do bigg acts of kindness that make a real impact, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or soup kitchen, donating blood, or organizing a clothing drive. Celebrate by spreading kindness – it’s contagious in the best way possible. Related: Can Kindness Improve Your Health?
  • Go away for the weekend. Plan a quick trip to a natural setting. Unplug from technology and reconnect with meaningful people in your life. Camping, cottage getaways, or beach trips allow for quality time.

Further reading: 5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your Cancerversary

Whoever said we should only celebrate on birthdays or holidays? Try the above tips to surround yourself with positivity, deepen bonds, make most days feel special, and improve your quality of life. With the right mindset, we can even turn dreadful Mondays into impromptu parties. Here’s to more joy, laughter, and celebrations with the people who matter.