World Gratitude Day, established by the UN in the seventies and celebrated each year on September 21st, is around to remind us how being mindful, showing compassion to oneself and others, and practicing gratitude daily does wonders for not only your mental health, but that of your family, friends, and coworkers too.
Studies have shown that practicing more gratitude is associated with positive mental and physical benefits like greater happiness, more positive emotions, fewer aches and pains, better sleep, and improved self-esteem, just to name a few. The person receiving gratitude gains similar benefits as well. Focusing on what we are grateful for, it would seem, is a universal path to happiness and fulfillment, which is what makes World Gratitude Day a golden opportunity in troubling times.
5 Tips for Daily Practice
Although gratitude can be a portal to better mental health, it can be difficult for people to show and practice gratitude more regularly for a slew of complex psychological reasons. But that doesn’t mean we’re not all capable of making it a more regular habit. Here are 5 tips for you can use in the workplace to show appreciation on World Gratitude Day and beyond:
- Gratitude Lists – Most of us never take the time to really define exactly what they are grateful for. At the end of the day or in your downtime make a quick list of ten things you are grateful for. The act of jotting down these gratitude lists helps you slow down, identify, and appreciate what you feel thankful for, in addition to training the mind to focus on positive thoughts.
- Meditation – There is no shortage of guided meditation apps and books, many of them with special modules and scripts specifically tailored to strengthening a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Meditation is a beautiful practice because there is no wrong way to do it; even taking five minutes out of each day to focus on mindfulness can do wonders for keeping a resilient mental constitution.
- Consistent Practice – However you show gratitude, make it a consistent practice every day until it becomes automatic. According to science, it takes about two months of consistent behavior until something becomes a muscle-memorized habit. If may feel grindy and even a bit strange at first but pushing through that first two months of awkwardness opens a portal to more consistent personal fulfillment.
- Volunteering – Actively practicing gratitude in a service context is arguably the most impactful way to go about it. Not only does it offer a humbling experience that can lend our lives fresh perspectives, it provides essential services and renders aid to those who are most vulnerable.
- Appreciate Everything – It can be difficult to appreciate anything when the world gets you down and nothing goes right. On days like those it’s most important to find reasons to be grateful and remain open to appreciating everything, no matter how small it may seem. Even on our worst days there is gratitude to be found, if only by appreciating the fact that all bad days must come to an end.
There can be no downside to expressing gratitude, and it costs nothing to share it with others. World Gratitude Day is a great opportunity to take a moment to be mindful and spread it in your workplace, home, or wherever you may find yourself.