Saying Thanks Makes you Happy!by Lukasz Belza
On September 21, the world will say thank you
Today is World Gratitude Day, as on every 21st of September. So to speak, the official "ThankU-day" ;-) World Gratitude Day goes back to the meditation group of the United Nations and was first celebrated on September 21, 1977. On this day in New York, the United Nations Meditation Group, under the leadership of Sri Chinmoy, called upon the world to show gratitude. It was mainly about creating awareness for the small things for which we can be thankful every day.
When I founded ThankU (www.thanku.social) as a non-profit project, I did not know that there was a World Gratitude Day. After all, my motivation to found ThankU was to solve my own everyday problem: I was (and still am) often called by friends and asked: "Lukasz, you are a lawyer, can I ask you some private legal questions, it only takes five minutes...". I always thought how wonderful it would be if I could ask for something in return for such favors. But not for my own pocket, but for a good cause. And ThankU was born.
Those who are grateful are happy
When I started to read about World Gratitude Day on the web, I soon realized that gratitude is a big issue. Not only privately, but above all socially. So I came across psychological studies on the topic of gratitude. The so-called positive psychology deals mainly with the influence of gratitude on us humans and our lives. Until now I had thought that when I am happy, I will automatically be grateful for everything that is around me and all I have. But research says something completely different: whoever is grateful is happy. This is now put in very simplified terms, but it expresses the core of the research results. And that made me curious. Can I become happier by practicing gratitude? The researchers say quite clearly: yes!
Things I am grateful for
I was particularly pleased to find out that keeping a gratitude diary has a lasting positive effect on the feeling of happiness and well-being of people. I couldn't let go of that, and I immediately started keeping such a diary, in which I write down three things for which I am thankful on this day, every day before my morning meditation. At first I thought that these must be some truly earth-shattering things that I was writing down. But soon I realized that it is quite enough to notice seemingly small things for which I am grateful. It actually started with me realizing how nice it is to have warm, running water in the apartment. Honestly: What luxury and good fortune! And once you have started like that, it goes very quickly with many more ideas. Here is a list of things that just came to my mind spontaneously while writing this article:
- I am healthy
- I have great friends and family who are there for me
- I can write, edit and share this text on a fancy laptop
- I have a nice workplace, with a view of lovely potted plants that I have grown myself
- I live in a safe country without war
What are you grateful for?
I could continue this list for quite a while now without having to think too hard about it. Maybe you feel inspired, too. And maybe you are already thinking about what you are thankful for? Or perhaps you are grateful to a person for what they have done for you, or just for being there for you.
And ThankU offers a great way to express your gratitude in a meaningful way. Because you can send a ThankU to your loved ones as a virtual thank you and donate to a good cause. We have selected three trustworthy projects you can support: Planting trees, removing plastic from the ocean and protecting wildlife.
And if you can't think of anyone you would like to thank with a ThankU, just thank the universe! For this purpose we have even created a special ThankU page for the universe: thx.to/:universe
In this spirit I wish you a happy World Gratitude Day, and hope that you will send and receive many ThankUs.