Photo by Jill Wellington

Many US Americans associate gratitude with the celebration of Thanksgiving in November. However, we can expand this view of an emotion that spans all seven continents. 

It is important to know that in 1965, the official start of World Gratitude Day began at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii in the United States of America. A meditation guru named Sri Chinmoy, also serving as director of the United Nations Meditation Group, was hosting a Thanksgiving dinner to honor a group. During dinner, he suggested World Gratitude Day as a potentially globally unifying day. Those in attendance pledged to host a gratitude gathering annually on September 21 in their respective home countries.  The UN Meditation Group celebrated World Gratitude Day on September 21, 1977, at their New York City, New York headquarters. Today, World Gratitude Day is celebrated globally. So how can we celebrate and show gratitude? Consider these four ideas:

  1. Demonstrate gratitude within your local community: Avoid taking people for granted. Consider taking the time to display your appreciation to your favorite administrative professionals, coffee baristas, contractors, bakers, electricians, health care professionals, police officers, plumbers, firefighters, physicians, personal trainers, recyclers, and trash collectors. 
  2. Display genuine gratitude to your spouse or partner: Stress and tension can cause us to react in strange ways – erupting in anger with those we love and those closest to us. Share this holiday and express your gratitude about how you appreciate their support all year.
  3. Demonstrate patience with your family: Do your best to either celebrate or tolerate your differences. Avoid criticizing them by creating distance if necessary. Maybe your parents and siblings have differing views. Cherish the joys and memories. Tell your family how much you love them despite your differences or the distance.
  4. Start a gratitude journal: Capture your thoughts electronically, in handwriting, or by dictation. It is as simple as recording the 2 or 3 things you are grateful for daily. The emotional, intellectual, and physical benefits of gratitude journals have been well documented by the medical community. 

What are you grateful for? Share your thoughts with us. 

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.


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