When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you takes things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~G.K. Chesterson
History of World Gratitude Day
The idea for an annual day of gratitude began in 1965 in Hawaii during an international Thanksgiving dinner and it has been celebrated on September 21st for the last 51 years.
Held at the East-West Center, the dinner was hosted by mediation guru, Sri Chinmoy, director of the United Nations Meditation Group. He suggested the idea as a globally unifying holiday and each person in attendance vowed to hold a gratitude gathering every September 21st in their own country. The United Nations Meditation Group formally celebrated World Gratitude Day on September 21, 1977 at the New York Headquarters where Sri Chinmoy was honored for his work. Since its beginnings, World Gratitude Day has been observed in numerous countries around the globe.
There has been an increasing awareness of the benefits of gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection. World Gratitude Day is a reminder and an opportunity to reflect on all of the blessings we have in life. Expressing gratitude has been proven in numerous scientific studies to positively impact our well-being, making us happier, healthier, more social and overall more appreciative people.
World Gratitude Day 2016 is Wednesday, September 21st.
Here are six ways you can participate and contribute in this global expression of gratitude.
1. Be Courteous and Kind
Smile and say hello to people as you walk down the street or through a store or restaurant. Allow people on the roads and freeways to merge, invite that person behind you with one item to go ahead of you at the checkout counter.
2. Say Thank You
Say thank you to all of those people who support you in life, especially those who may often go unnoticed. Thank your mail carrier, your refuse collector, the person who assists you on a tech support phone call, the wait staff and chef at your favorite restaurant.
3. Gratitude Journal
World Gratitude Day is the perfect opportunity to begin a habit of keeping a gratitude journal. Take time to write down everything you appreciate. These things can be big or small, simple or complex. Don’t overthink it, just let go and write. Puffy clouds, your favorite TV show or novel, your spouse or partner, your pet, your favorite meal….the list is truly endless.
4. Thank You Notes
When was the last time you received a thank you note in the mail? With the advent of electronic technology, writing cards and letters is becoming a lost art but one that should be revitalized. Buy some simple thank you cards and take time to write out 2 or 3 to people whom you wish to express your thanks. It could be your neighbor for watering your plants while you were on vacation, your coworker for her help on a project, your child for their sense of humor or good sportsmanship, or your partner for a wonderful meal. Once done, be sure to mail them and spread your appreciation!
5. Give Back
Find a way to share your talents or time with others. Volunteer at your child’s school, help out at a soup kitchen, spend time at an animal shelter, retirement community or local hospital.
6. Pay It Forward
When you are in line at at toll bridge or your favorite coffee shop or deli, pay for the person behind you in line. It will make you smile and will definitely make their day. Hopefully, your kind gesture and their appreciation will start a wave of gratitude that will continue down the line.