You go to a few yoga classes or read a spiritual book, and the word ‘gratitude’ will eventually show up. The idea to be thankful for the good things in our lives is tied to all major spiritual ideologies and religious schemas.
Okay. Be thankful. It’s a simple enough task, but how do we integrate gratitude into our daily lives?
There are workout buddies for exercise junkies and book clubs for voracious readers, so I propose a new kind of accountability: gratitude partners for those looking to better engage in thankfulness.
Every day over the past six months, my friend Emmy and I text one another five things we are grateful for.
Emmy and I being supremely grateful for one other.
The things can be momentous (I passed my boards, the cyst was benign, I made it home on the treacherous icy roads alive) or simple (big comfy wool sweaters, sweet potatoes, postcards from old friends).
Going off the mantra “you should meditate 30 minutes a day, unless you don’t have time to meditate, then you should meditate an hour”, the harder or more frustrating the day, the longer the gratitude list. The days the cat peed on the floor, the friend let you down, you are exhausted, overworked, sick: list twenty things you’re grateful for.
This simple practice has done more than make me happy for the things I have. It has moderated my entire perspective on life. When things work out, I am grateful, but not elated or so tied to the success of whatever that thing is. When things fail, don’t work out, or otherwise disappoint me, I feel far less attached to them, because I still ate that fantastic sweet potato, I still have love and health and really good coffee in my life.
This Melody Beattie quote lives on my to-do chalkboard, an it is one of my favorite reminders that gratitude permeates our whole lives, if we let it.
So it is my humble suggestion that you find someone to help encourage appreciation every single day, and watch it change everything.