“Gratitude to God is to accept Everything, even my problems with Joy.”
Did you know that today, 21 September is World Gratitude Day? Until a few moments ago, I had no idea!
Nonetheless, it excites the crap out of me that a day exists to commemorate and to celebrate gratitude and its potency to simultaneously cultivate well-being and social cohesion.
The History of World Gratitude Day
“Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what you have into enough and more.”
Apparently, in 1965, on the beautiful island of Hawaii, a group of pretty visionary folk decided that amid all the mayhem that existed in the world and amid all the trials and tribulations that crossed people’s lives, it was easy to lose sight of just how much there is in life to be grateful for. These smart people understood that it was especially when the going got tough, that gratitude was precisely what needed to counteract life’s traumas and challenges.
The celebration of World Gratitude Day kicked off in 1966, and a gratitude movement has surreptitiously been growing ever since. Being a bit of a gratitude junky myself, I feel as though I’ve just been inducted into the coolest cult ever!
So, you guessed it! Now I am recruiting you!
Why World Gratitude Day? Why Gratitude in the first place?
“Gratitude paints little smiley faces on Everything it touches”
Richelle E. Goodrich
Let’s face it, life can be pretty challenging in and of itself.
Then there are our brains. Always alert and on the lookout for threats to our wellbeing, our brains seek out anything that can even remotely pose a threat to us, even if that threat is simply a mild discomfort or an even milder challenge to our concepts of Self. As a result, we find ourselves pretty preoccupied with negativity. So much so, that we more often than not, become completely oblivious to our negative state. We come to believe that this is just the way life is and we practically write off the beauty and the bounty that surrounds us daily.
If you’re new to the practice of gratitude, you will be astonished by the sheer transformative power it can mobilise within each of us as individuals, as well as among ourselves as collectives in our households, places of work, and communities.
Despite the fact that gratitude costs us nothing and requires no more than 3 to 5 minutes of our time to reflect on the goodness and on the bounty and grace in our lives, positive psychology research studies are revealing the seemingly endless benefits of gratitude in our lives.
This brief, free exercise, performed daily, has the same impact on your emotional wellbeing as doubling your income might have. That's a pretty grand promise, but think about it, not long after you’ve has an income increase, you get used to it and you simply stop experiencing the happiness you first experienced with your income increase. Conversely, a daily 5-minute gratitude practice cultivates positive feedback loops to your brain and triggers the states of abundance, wellbeing, and contentedness.
This little graphic gives you a quick synopsis of the areas of your life that can be transformed with the practice of gratitude.
The founders of World Gratitude Day envisaged a movement in which people showed up in their own lives and in the lives of others not only evangelizing the awareness of the countless benefits of gratitude but also practicing gratitude and actually yielding these benefits in their individual and collective lives.
“This is a Wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”
How could you celebrate World Gratitude Day?
“Gratitude makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
There are endless ways to celebrate World Gratitude Day.
This is a day of awareness. Tell someone about it and share some info with them about the benefits of gratitude.
Do This!!! Set aside some time to think through the things that you are grateful for today. Think about all the people that have crossed your path to support you and/or to teach you. What are the opportunities you’ve benefited from? What entertainment do you easily have access to? What bounties cross your life daily? Who is in your life that makes you feel needed, happy, and whole? What good health do you get to enjoy every day? What meal have you enjoyed recently? What do you have to look forward to? What is a good book you’ve read recently? This is an endless list, but I think you get the gist.
Offer your thanks and gratitude to anyone in your life you have any appreciation for.
If you’re at work, thank your colleagues for the contributions they make to your day.
Do something nice for someone, even if it’s just to offer them a smile.
The practice of gratitude is not a denial of anything that might exist in your life that may be challenging or painful to you. Its and overlooked resource you can invoke at any moment in time to immediately increase your sense of wellbeing and to help you feel more resourceful and more resilient.
If you are ready to give gratitude a bash, maybe you can not only take up my Gratitude 10 X 10 X 10 Challenge, perhaps you can even share it.
For the next 10 days, spend time recording 10 things you are grateful for, with an explanation of why you’re grateful for it. More importantly, record 10 things you are grateful for about yourself and why you have this gratitude. By the end of 10 days, you’ll have expressed 100 things to appreciate about yourself. You can never begin to estimate what this kind of positive regard for yourself can do for you, your wellbeing, your career, your social life, and your influence.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights the fire of joy in your soul.”