Today is a profound day. What did you think when you opened your eyes this morning? I hope you woke up bursting with gratitude.
Today is National Gratitude Day and this day has been celebrated for over 50 years. In fact, September the 21st has been National Gratitude Day since 1965, according to ‘Days of the Year’.
“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 this meeting, when the attendees returned to their own countries, they continued to celebrate 21st September as Gratitude Day and over the years, this celebration has continued to grow. 21st September is now marked around the world as National Gratitude Day.
Gratitude can come in many forms. Google defines gratitude as: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.
Being thankful and showing appreciation for kindness and the goodness in your life seems simple: this practice could very easily become a natural part of your day. However, for so many people, gratitude is often an afterthought. Life is unpredictable, you don’t always get what you want and sometimes you are swimming against the tide – so it becomes far easier to focus upon what is wrong with your life and wish for those missing aspects that you think would make everything that much better.
What many people seem to have back-to-front is the notion that once they have what they want, they’ll be grateful; once they have that car, that relationship, that job – they’ll be happy. It doesn’t work that way. The first step of life fulfilment starts with gratitude for what you already have.
Gratitude is not a luxury that you will ‘do’ when you get what you want – gratitude is a state of mind, a behaviour that you must practice daily.
If you’re not grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you’re going to be blessed with more?
Gratitude is waking up in the morning and realising you’re still alive and healthy enough to climb out of bed, even if you’ve only got one eye open. Gratitude is walking into your kitchen and seeing that little ball of fluff run towards you to greet you first thing. Gratitude is even having a kitchen. Gratitude is knowing that you can go to work today in a warm office, with fancy computers and a canteen stocked with overpriced delights. Gratitude is even having a job. Gratitude is having a really bad day but knowing you can call a friend and laugh until you cry. Gratitude is th e fact that you have a phone. Gratitude is saying thank you to those who help you stand when the wind is trying to blow you down. But most of all, gratitude is refusing to take for granted all the little things in your life.
Gratitude is not easy
The easiest part of gratitude is being thankful for all the wonderful things you have in your life – but what about when things go wrong? What if something bad has happened, someone has hurt you or you are struggling to fight through bad day after bad day. Can you still feel grateful then? Yes, this is when gratitude becomes even more crucial. The hardest thing to do when you are in a bad place is to see the beauty in your life, but the act of being grateful when everything seems to be going against you will be your anchor in a stormy sea.
If you’re able to find the smallest thing to be grateful for, you can use this as your focus to keep you moving forward until life improves.
For example: You have no money, you’re single and you’re bored as hell with your job – yes – life can be awful… but this is the time to focus on gratitude. Wake up in the morning and instead of growling about the time and how tired you feel, close your eyes, breathe and remember: you are healthy, your family loves you so much and your best friend has just messaged you good morning.
Gratitude in Meditation
I have started to incorporate gratitude into my daily meditation. Each morning and night, I spend a few minutes during my meditation to think about the people and events I am grateful for. What happened during my day that made me smile? What am I thankful for? I take a few minutes to feel gratitude for each experience – good or bad, I forgive anyone who has annoyed me that day and ask for forgiveness in return. This simple act really can make a world of difference.
Just try this on a daily basis and you will see the effect this can have on your life.
So, what are you grateful for?
I would love to hear your thoughts on gratitude and the things you are grateful for in life. Comment on this post or contact me via my contact page.
I am grateful for you. Thank you for reading this post.
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