What is World Gratitude Day?
The idea of world celebrating a day of thanks was suggested in 1965, by Sri Chimnoy, a spiritual leader, during the Thanksgiving dinner in United Nations building. Since then, September 21 is celebrated as World Gratitude Day to recognize the power of gratitude to heal and transform lives for the better.
How to celebrate World Gratitude Day?
Gratitude is scientifically linked to both emotional and physical health benefits, when practiced regularly. Hence, marking a day in our annual calendars for celebrating gratitude day, is an important reminder on the need to internalize gratitude in our lives. Starting today, each one of us can try and make these little changes in our lives.
1. Grateful family conversations
Let us start with conversations about gratitude on the dinner table or just before going to sleep. For example, parents could take some time to prepare and read out a thank you note for a family member for at least one thing every week. Similarly, we could encourage our children to thank at least one family member or friend for an act of kindness they saw or felt that day or week. This does not have to be a chore but must come naturally and straight from the heart. If we make grateful family conversations, an essential part of our daily lives, then there is a higher likelihood of inculcating a more positive environment that fosters the spirit of gratitude among children.
2. Appreciate the little things
In our conversations at home or work, if we could consciously complain less and focus instead on what went well that day, it would make a world of difference to our lives. As per our blog, instead of waiting for big things or big moments to happen, which happen rarely and definitely not on a daily basis, we could consciously develop the muscle of gratitude by acknowledging the little things around us. Some of these include:
The fact that we got up today and are alive
That we survived Covid
That we can travel again
The air we breathe
The food on our table
The roof on our head
The rains and the clouds
The lovely song that played on the radio today
That colleague or friend who always has your back
The memories of our parents
That wonderful friend who always checks on you when you are down
That no matter how difficult life gets, you always thrive and come back stronger!
3. Send thank you notes to people that make a difference in your life
This Gratitude Day, say thanks and say it with a heart. If you fall short of words to express your gratitude to people who matter, here are some more messages that you can send to them right away.
Thank you for being so kind and being there for me.
Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face.
Thank you for listening to me without judging. I really appreciate that.
Thank you for being such a dependable person in my life.
Thank you for brightening my day with your conversations.
Thank you for hosting us at your place. I know how much effort it takes, and I really appreciate it.
4. Self-gratitude and self-care.
Years of cultural and social conditioning has ingrained in our psyche, that self-love is narcissism. However, if you have been in any emergency situation, or even in paid attention to the in-flight announcements, they ask you to first ensure your safety before trying to help others. In the words of Whitney Johnson and Amy Humble from HBR, to take care of others, start by taking care of yourself. While it is important to be grateful to others, it is equally important to have self-gratitude. We must acknowledge the little things that we do or accomplish on a day-to-day basis, the amount of effort we put in and how far we have come. And making self-care a part of your daily routine is the best way to show gratitude to yourself. The science behind self-care recommends strategies that address the brain-body connection. Some examples are meditation, apps that send reminders to breathe, listening to music, positive affirmations to start your mornings, or a keeping a gratitude or self-care journal before going to bed are all great ways to make self-care a daily habit.
5. Start a gratitude journal or review and share your past gratitude journal entries.
In a recent study, keeping a gratitude journal for just two weeks, reduced perceived stress amongst by 28% and writing a letter of gratitude reduced feelings of hopelessness in 88% of suicidal patients. When we are grateful for little things in life, the world seems kinder and happier. And this has a healing impact on our mind and body. Studies have linked gratitude with higher satisfaction, motivation, better sleep, and good mental health. So, this gratitude day, start your journey of self-care and mental well-being with a gratitude journal. You do not even have to write every day. But make sure you write regularly, so that you can reap the benefits of building the gratitude habit.
With love and gratitude,