Today is World Gratitude Day! While we often channel feelings of gratitude after a specific action or the holiday season, what about gratitude on a daily basis? Personally, I know the importance of gratitude yet it is easier to focus on all the things that I’m not grateful for. While I don’t consider myself a downer or negative, we often are bombarded with things that don’t evoke appreciation, whether it is a news story, social media bullies and trolls, or just interacting and moving through what seems to be more of a me-first society. This is not to mention all of the personal feelings and emotions that can also shift our mindset. When you add that in, it’s easy to fall for negative vibes instead of the positive.
So how do we shift our mindset to embrace gratitude and incorporate it into our daily lives? Why is there a day devoted to this? To answer the first question, we have to reflect on what gratitude is. According to Merriam-Webster, gratitude is defined as ” the state of being grateful : THANKFULNESS “. Okay, so gratitude has a direct connection to being thankful. Why a day of recognition? According to this Huff Post article, World Gratitude Day was adopted by the United Nations Mediation Group in 1965 to show appreciation for aspects of our lives. Pretty cool, right?
When I reflect on being grateful and thankful, I think of appreciation, community, and connection. Let’s break this down:
- Appreciation of self- This includes celebrating your strengths and honoring your flaws. I struggle with self-confidence and this often leads to a path of comparison and other destructive behaviors. Instead of doing that however, appreciating that life is a journey that will have bumps and moments of feeling low as well as smooth roads and joy. None of us is perfect and in fact, that is what makes us beautiful and unique. Can you self improve? Absolutely. Do you need to dwell on the flaws and what you would change daily? No. Is being grateful for health, a free spirit and other traits something to be thankful for daily? Yes!
- Community- As much as there is power in being an individual contributor (believe me, this is me at work!), life doesn’t work that way. It is very easy to focus on the slights of others and their flaws. But what about those random moments where someone looks out for their fellow citizen? Amazing! Or what about times where someone behaved in a way that was downright awful and you rose above it? Our community is not one we can control yet we can control our response and be grateful for the lessons and kindness that others can show us.
- Connection- For me, connection is all about creating real moments and appreciating the process. As a deep introvert and shy person, this is the hard part. But when I am able to truly connect, not only does it enhance my well-being, it also encourages me to feel gratitude for myself (overcoming the shy barrier) and for the community that has helped to make this possible.
When you combine these three things, it actually seems easier to frame gratitude as something we can possess and something we can be actionable about. Doesn’t that feel good? On this day and all days going forward, in the face of joy and challenge, I encourage you to reflect on appreciating yourself, your community, and how you can foster authentic connection. The road of
How do you express gratitude? Have you been successful at incorporating the practice in your daily life? What advice do you have? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to check me out on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (@joyfultenacity).
With joy and tenacity,