World Gratitude Day

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World Gratitude Day is this Friday, September 21st.  It began in 1965 in Hawaii when organizers of an international gathering decided to have one day each year to officially express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things in their lives and this world.  After returning home to their own countries, many attendees celebrated Gratitude Day again on September 21st 1966.  Since then, Gratitude Day has continued to grow across the world and more people are celebrating every year.

Prior to this year, I had never heard of World Gratitude Day, but, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the idea!

As we face life’s challenges, it can become easy to focus on the negative things that are happening in our lives.  But negative thoughts also lead to negative emotions.  If you find yourself sad, depressed, fearful, anxious, chances are you may be in a pattern of thinking negatively.  Our thought process affects who we are outwardly.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (KJV).  So this means that whatever your thoughts are, will be who you become.  It’s up to you to choose who that person is.

This is why I love the idea of World Gratitude Day.  World Gratitude Day is a day to simply be thankful.  And although we really shouldn’t have to have a special day or reason to be thankful in our lives, if you are a person who is not accustomed to practicing gratitude, World Gratitude Day is a great place to start.

The benefits of being grateful are numerous.  Here are two of them……..

  • Gratitude improves psychological health.  In multiple studies, gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph. D, found that gratitude decreases envy, resentment, frustration, regret and a myriad of other negative emotions.
  • Gratitude improves mental strength.  A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that a great contributor to the resilience displayed by those affected by the attacks on 9/11 was gratitude.  When people focus on what they have to be thankful for, instead of focusing on the negatives, it makes them more resilient.

Some ways that you can celebrate World Gratitude Day, and every day are:

  • Upon waking every morning say, “thank you.” It is not just happenstance that you opened your eyes today so take a moment to be grateful.  The fact that you woke up means God still has a plan and purpose for your life, even if you can’t see what it is yet.
  • Learn to notice and relish the small things.  Did you see a rainbow today?  Enjoy the moment and realize that they don’t come every day.
  • Tell someone who is important to you what they mean to you and why.  We may think those that mean the most to us know how much we value them, but there is nothing better than being told, and shown.
  • Learn to appreciate your circumstances.  Whatever hardships you are experiencing in life, I’m sure you could find someone who has it worse.  While it may seem hard and maybe even unrealistic, to appreciate when you are in a bad situation, focusing on whatever little positives you have in your life will help make the hardships a bit more bearable.
  • Start a gratitude journal.  Just take a few moments each day to write in a notebook or journal the things that you are grateful for that day.  You will be surprised when you look back at how many things you actually have to be thankful for.

I used to be a negative person; what I called a realist.  I was also miserable and unhappy and waiting for my life to be “ideal”.  When I learned to appreciate things about myself and in my life, I became a much happier person.  I still have my moments, after all, I’m human.  But overall, I am in the best place I have ever been in my life and I would NEVER want to go back.  A big part of that is because I chose to stop focusing on the things I perceived as negative in my life and instead started to focus on the good things, of which I realized there were many, once I actually took the time to look for them.

Besides stopping my focus on negative things, another thing I did was start what I call my blessing box.  I got a pretty box with a lid on it at a local discount store.  The box has words like “dream” and “inspire” on it, and other words that speak to my soul.  I keep it in my office and whenever the mood strikes me, I’ll write something I feel blessed about on a small piece of paper and fold it up and throw it into the box.  On days when I’m feeling less than chipper, I’ll go pull a few of those folded pieces of paper out of the box and read them.  One example of what I’ve written is, “Sanyy said I am her bff.”  Sanyy is my 5 year old niece.  She brings so much joy to my life.  Other examples are, “had a great family dinner tonight” and “I helped a homeless man today.”  Being able to have those reminders when I am down, really helps to uplift me and remind me that I AM EXTREMELY BLESSED and whatever I am going through in that moment will not last forever.

I can honestly say that practicing gratitude has had a very positive impact on my life and I’m sure it will for you too.  So, if you don’t already, start finding little ways to be grateful every day.  You won’t regret it!

With love and appreciation,

 

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