The photo above was taken in an area in Miami called Wynwood Art District, a once derelict area now gentrified thanks to innovative entrepreneurs who made the decision to invest and develop a space for living art. The area is one of the largest open-air street art installations in the world. What has been created is a marvel of human creativity and a definite highlight for anyone visiting one of the great American cities.

There was a lot of art that captured my eye as I walked through the streets. There was the expected play on words such as ‘Stop Wars’ with Yoda as the centrepiece. There was classical and abstract art. And what smorgasbord of graffiti art would be complete without professional tags of various artists bombed with style on a once blank canvas.

The section that grabbed me most was a building that had aphorisms on each side. The most pertinent piece for myself was the one above. In almost mystical fashion this sign grabbed my attention, reminding me once again of the universal and timeless value of giving gratitude.

The psychological research on the benefit of gratitude is growing. Last week I posted a link to a recent study that found that the practice of gratitude can physically change the brain kicking off a “healthful, self-perpetuating cycle in your brain”.  Other studies have found the practice of gratitude having a positive impact on relationships, self-esteem and even helping you to sleep better.

For a year now I have, on a weekly basis, diarised sentiments of gratitude reminding myself all that I have a lot to be thankful for. Topics covered have traversed many domains. I have much to be grateful for from relationships with friends and family, through to my career, health, finance. Indeed the list can be endless and by engaging in gratitude with some regularity I’m reminded how simply lucky I am to exist.

The reality is that most of us have much to be grateful for. The mere fact that we are conceived and have the opportunity to experience the mystery of life is such a random event of astronomical proportions that gratitude is a very appropriate response! I don’t know the alternative to living but the simple fact of being able to taste, hear, see, feel and smell the external world is so pleasurable that gratitude would seemingly be mandatory.

So as this year gets underway, I encourage everyone to engage in a regular practice of giving gratitude. I can vouch for the benefits. And for those that need a bit of a reminder, please feel free to paint your room or building if it helps, but do ask the ratepayer first.