Time Newsfeed reports that researchers studied 2,000,000 people over two decades and found we are more likely to die on our own birthday than any other day of the year. The study, published in the journal, Annals of Epidemiology, uncovered that people over 60 were 14% more likely to die on their birthdays than any other time. The most common causes of birthday deaths were heart attacks, which rose 18.6% on birthdays, and strokes, which were up 21.5%. There is also a 34.9% rise in suicide, and a remarkable 44% jump for deaths by falling down.
Prof. Richard Wiseman, a University of Hertfordshire psychologist, explained toThe Daily Telegraph: “There are two camps of thought – one suggests you eat too much and you’re getting on a bit and that causes you to die. The other is a placebo effect. You are knife-edged on death. And you kept yourself going until your birthday. You think ‘that’s it, I’ve had enough, I’m out of here.’”
Whatever the reason, that’s an amazingly sad statistic. Let’s start countering that trend. No more boring or excessively expensive or stressful or death-causing family birthday celebrations. Let’s get a plan.
Here are 5 ways to make family birthdays outstanding:
1. Live like you mean it the other 364 days!
Cultivate a family DNA rooted in celebration: We know a family who conspires to celebrate every possible opportunity…“16 years since our first date,” “First Day of the Summer Holidays!” “The anniversary of moving into this family home,” “Married 5,000 days!” “College graduation day, let’s celebrate!” Etc…etc…etc… The point is to celebrate the family as often as possible. Do this and the next birthday simply keeps that celebration ball rolling.
2. Build birthdays around “grateful”:
Some people like to theme their party. Here’s one that’s always cutting edge. How about building family birthday celebrations around “grateful?” We’re not aging so much as diving another year deeper into thankfulness for life, family, employment, friends, our faith community – and so much more. Use the occasion to make a big deal out of gratitude.
3. Give others gifts as a way to celebrate:
Consider buying gifts for others (and charitable causes) as a way to mark the big day. Don’t spend money you don’t have, but wouldn’t it be fun to turn the tables and look forward to a day where you can be The Generous Family? The family member who has the birthday gets the final say.
4. The power of positive thinking:
Marketing and sales gurus know that even effectiveness on the telephone is enhanced in response to facial expressions. Birthday people can feel the same way. Worried about the big “4-0?” Don’t think your 12-year-old is ready to be a teen? Concerned your Kindergartener is apprehensive about growing up? Try the simple discipline of saying positive messages, out loud, in the days ahead. Smile like you mean it. Actually tell people you’re stoked about the new age/year/decade. Ask the kids to share five good things about the next step in life. It’s the power of positive thinking. It’s not self-deception; it’s positive message control.
5. Surround yourself with family:
Go home. Be home. Host casual dinners for every family birthday. Be with the kids and other immediate family too. Relax. Tell stories. Make a point of telling everyone around the table that you love them. Make sure everyone knows how much they mean to each other. Give it up for love.
Huddle Up Question
What was the best birthday you ever had? Why?