Today is World Gratitude Day.
“The celebration started in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world. Following the meeting in Hawaii, many attendees marked Gratitude Day on 21st September 1966 when back in their own countries. Ever since then, the number of people celebrating Gratitude Day across the world has grown and grown.” Daysoftheyear.com
I love that this is a thing, this day! A day to step back and take the time to be thankful for all of the positive things in our lives is a wonderful thing.
However, I believe every single day should be Gratitude Day.
Having a daily gratitude practice is a game changer, and one of my favorite tools in my handy little Joy Tool Box.
I’ll be honest, when I began a regular gratitude practice, it took some work. I started with a journal in which I would diligently write, at the end of each day, a few things I was grateful for that day. Some days all I could muster up was “I opened my eyes this morning”, or “I didn’t spill my coffee”. Other days I was able to find gratitude for the ladybug I saw on my car, or the sun’s rays shining through the trees. Some days I had to force myself to dig out the journal and write something, ANYTHING, down. Other days I couldn’t wait to open up the journal and free write the 20 things that were bursting at the seams to get down on paper.
The magic of a daily gratitude practice, however, is that I found myself seeking out things to be grateful for, because at the end of the day, I didn’t want to be empty handed when I popped that journal open.
And in seeking out those moments, I began to see the world through new eyes, inquisitive, positive, caring, grateful eyes. And the world around me shifted. The world became a kinder, more loving, more beautiful one.
Now, between you and me, the world didn’t actually change…not at all. But the way I looked at the world did, I CHANGED, therefore the things I saw changed.
“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.” ~ Dr. Robert Holden
Where before sitting in traffic was a burden and a hassle, it became an opportunity to listen to music, to hit pause on my hectic life, to be present.
Where before standing in line was frustrating and time consuming, it became a chance to strike up a conversation with a stranger and get to know another human being I may never have gotten a chance to know before.
At the end of each day, as I recounted the many gifts of my day, I realized that the number of gratitude moments increased exponentially over time.
After a while, the journal was no longer necessary because gratitude became a way of life for me. I find that now I live in a constant state of gratitude.
Gratitude has become a default emotion for me.
Even in moments when life is less than pleasant, I am able to quickly seek out what I can be thankful for in my current situation. True, sometimes, I need to dig deeply for it, but I find that most of the time, it happens before I’m even aware that I am doing it.
And with gratitude, comes Joy.
“Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to Joy…” – Ann Lamott
Once I began a daily gratitude practice, I found that my life was filled with unexpected moments of Joy.
When you take the time to notice, REALLY NOTICE, all that you have to be grateful for in this world, Joy becomes a constant side effect.
I think there is a misconception with much of society that in order to be thankful, we must first be happy. How are we to live a life of gratitude if we do not feel joyful? If we are struggling, hurting, stressed out and frazzled, mistreated, lonely, angry…how then are we to feel thankful? We believe that only happy people can truly feel thankful.
It turns out the opposite is true: It is not Joy that breeds gratefulness; it is gratefulness that breeds Joy.
When we can pause in the midst of life and all it brings and give thanks for the blessings, however miniscule they may seem at the moment, Joy is sure to follow.
In fact, I would challenge that without gratefulness true Joy is not possible.
So today, on World Gratitude Day, I will pause at the end of my day to reflect on all that I am thankful for in life. I will open up my journal and let the blessings pour out onto paper.
I hope you will do the same. If you do not have a daily gratitude practice in place, I challenge you to begin one. THIS MOMENT.
If this feels like too big a task or an unreasonable request at this moment in your life, I promise this is ever so more important for you to begin.
In addition, if you find yourself unsure on how to begin, I invite you to reach out to me; nothing would give me more Joy than to set you on your path to gratitude.
Join us tonight at 8PM EST for a Live discussion and celebration of World Gratitude Day over here: Find Your Joy