Celebrated officially since 1965 on the 21st September every year, World Gratitude Day is dedicated to acknowledging what’s going well in your life. Yet we shouldn’t have to wait for a particular date to practise gratitude, it should be something we do every day. Besides, there is too much for us to be grateful for to fit it all into one day!
Gratitude doesn’t need to be saved for something momentous or extravagant, your appreciation can be shown for all things no matter how big or small.
Practising gratitude can drive optimism and make you more resilient. It can cultivate your experiences of positive emotions, and therefore increase your levels of happiness according to the wellbeing framework PERMA. Yet one of the best things I have learnt is that when your brain is in a state of appreciation, it is impossible for it to be in a state of fear or anxiety at the same time. So the more you practise gratitude, the less negative emotions you will experience. And once you start, it can be extremely addictive.
Despite the known benefits, unfortunately it is rare for us to practise gratitude. But if you fail to be grateful for anything, you will continuously want more and more from life. And you will never be able to appreciate what you have.
Even on the darkest of days, you should still be able to see some good in the world and be reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And in the worst situations, you can always ask yourself “what is the learning here?”
To practise gratitude you can try doing some of the following scientifically validated exercises; keeping a journal to write down all the things you are grateful for, you can spend a few minutes each day letting your friends or family know three things that you are grateful for or you can write someone a letter of gratitude and then read it to them.
If you are after more ideas you can visit the Gratefulness website.
To get started, have a think about three things you are grateful for today.