HEALTH & WELLNESS Mind & Health  >  World Gratitude Day is Here! What Are You Grateful For?

World Gratitude Day is Here! What Are You Grateful For?

Does Gratitude Help You LIve Longer?, gratitude and middle age, gratitude and longevity
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September 21st was identified as World Gratitude Day by the United Nations in 2010.  Here’s how to celebrate this little known holiday.

The idea of a gratitude day is nothing new in the United States. We usually celebrate it on the fourth Thursday in November and call it “Thanksgiving.” But Thanksgiving is not celebrated around the world and in many cultures it is both unknown and misunderstood.

I remember working in Helsinki, Finland and a Finnish client had called a meeting for the upcoming Thursday. Many of us who were Americans protested because it happened to be Thanksgiving Day. His response was, “Can’t you have the turkey on Sunday?” He obviously missed the point and finally relented and we were all home for Thanksgiving. We were all grateful for that and it’s something I often acknowledge on World Gratitude Day. But I’m not the only one and throughout this article we’ll share some expressions of gratitude from people we have known or respect.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

According to the United Nation’s Meditation Group, World Gratitude Day is often defined by a list of things we should be grateful for. They don’t have a published list but as a time of reflection things could include:

  • Our children and grandchildren and their continued good health.
  • Our parents if they’re still around or the great memories and good times we had with them before they were gone.
  • Our own health and some of our accomplishments.
  • Our friends who have shared their lives with us.
  • Our pets and their loyal companionship.
  • Simple and sentimental possessions like the pottery coffee cup our son or daughter made in high-school.

“I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life. I go out and smell the air after a good, hard rain. I re-read passages from my favorite books. I hold the little treasures that somebody special gave me. These small actions help remind me that there are so many great, glorious pieces of good in the world.”  Dolly Parton

The list could go on, but aren’t we lucky and shouldn’t we as Americans be grateful that we now have two days to gives thanks and show appreciation.

“Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.”  Marilyn Monroe 

There’s also evidence supported by a Stanford University study that gratitude and gratefulness have positive physical and mental health benefits. These include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Stronger relationships
  • Lower blood-pressure
  • An increased ability to cope with life’s challenges
  • Better job performance
  • A more positive and optimistic disposition

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”  Maya Angelou 

Gratitude is also about more than self-reflection. It’s about making an outward effort to thank those people in our lives who have made a difference. This can be as easy as a list of people we are grateful for on our Facebook page, but be careful with that one -you don’t want to forget someone so maybe end that list with words like “everyone you have ever known and loved.”

Phone calls and cards and letters are another way to share the gratitude in addition to a visit or invite to the house or apartment for a meal or a grateful chat.

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”  John F. Kennedy

It can be difficult to find or share gratitude when times are really tough. But in many ways that may be the best time to reach out for the good things that have happened in our lives. Buddha may have said it best:

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”


I hope you enjoy World Gratitude Day and am grateful and appreciative that you took the time to read this article.





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