September 21: World Gratitude Day

September 21: World Gratitude Day

The world in which we live is plagued by plenty of hardships and negativity. Throughout our hectic day to day routines it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important and to take for granted the little things. And while we shouldn’t need a day to serve as a reminder, observing World Gratitude Day is a great way to jumpstart a more mindful way of life.

World Gratitude Day was originally created in Hawaii in 1965 by Sri Chinmoy, the director of the United Nations Meditation Group, although it was first celebrated in the United States in 1977. The day is meant to raise awareness of and appreciation for those who work to make a difference, be it locally or on a grander scale. Chinmoy received a plaque in his honor at the first celebration at the New York Headquarters for having "enhanced the spirit of globalism with his compassion, his creativity and nobility of spirit."

In what ways can we show gratitude on World Gratitude Day? It’s simple!

First, think of someone or something for which you are grateful. Choose as many people, groups, charities, or establishments as you want. Is there a friend or relative who has helped you through a hard time? Is there a church or support group with which you are involved that has contributed to bettering your life? Is there a local organization whose work you admire? Let them know. Write a heartfelt letter, create a personalized card, make a donation or simply give back some of your time. You can also show gratitude toward strangers by holding a door open, saying “thank you” or buying the person behind you at Starbucks their coffee. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything at all.

Personally I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have family and friends who have supported me unconditionally. I’m incredibly grateful for my restored health. I have a boss who has given me opportunities to grow. And I am genuinely ecstatic when I get a “Thank you!” or a “job well done” compliment. To show my appreciation I plan to be more mindful, put out into the world all the goodness I hope to receive and toss a few tips in the jar at my favorite local coffee joint.

How will you show your gratitude?

September 17, 2012