Celebrations can benefit your health and well-being

Happy Woman Celebration

Perceived social support is an important factor in maintaining mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that individuals with higher levels of perceived social support have better mental and physical health outcomes, and are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and stress.

New research finds that celebrations that highlight accomplishments can enhance the perception of social support.

New research shows that actively acknowledging positive life events and accomplishments while gathering to eat and drink can increase feelings of social support.

The study published in Journal of Public Policy and Marketingfound that ceremonies involving social gathering, eating or drinking, and intentional acknowledgment of a positive life event can increase perceived social support. Previous research has shown that perceived social support, or the belief that an individual has a network of people who care about them and are available to provide help and support, is associated with improved health and well-being outcomes, such as increased lifespan and reduced anxiety and depression.

said Kelly Jolo-White, associate professor at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business and co-author of the study. Adding the third condition, making an intentional effort to recognize the positive accomplishments of others, is key. For example, take the time to congratulate someone on being accepted to a first-choice university, a job project that went well, or a new job offer. Benefits for your well-being and the well-being of all those present at this holiday party.”

White and her co-authors, including Professor Daniel Brake of University of Connecticutand James Bateman, Tanya Chartrand, and Gavan Fitzsimmons Duke UniversityBehavioral experiments were used to survey thousands of participants over several years.

The research revealed that even if the gatherings are virtual, if everyone has food and drink (regardless of whether they are healthy or indulgent) and celebrates positive events, this also increases the person’s perceived social support, and they can have the same well-being Take advantage of it.

It also has implications for marketing executives or anyone looking to raise money for a good cause.

“We found that when people feel socially supported after a celebration, they are ‘socially pro-social’ and more willing to volunteer their time or donate to a cause and co-author of the study,” said Danielle Brake, associate professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the study. “This would be a good time for nonprofits to market Donation drives, at a time when many people are celebrating positive life events, such as holidays or graduations.”

The researchers note that hosting celebrations that increase perceived social support can be especially beneficial in settings that serve populations most at risk of loneliness and isolation, such as nursing homes or community centers.

They also noted the importance of understanding the welfare benefits of celebrations for policymakers looking to implement regulations or measures that could affect social gatherings, such as COVID lockdowns, to avoid negative mental health consequences. They recommend that if organizers need virtual celebrations, they should include some type of consumption and tag a separate positive life event, so that people leave the celebration feeling socially supported.

Reference: “Celebrating Good Times: How Celebrations Increase Perceived Social Support” by Daniel J. Brick, Kelly Jolo-White, and James R. Bateman, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Javan J. Fitzsimmons Dec. 1, 2022, Available here. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.
doi: 10.1177/07439156221145696

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