Over a year ago, my friend Marianne (you know her from the How to Make a Vision Board post) suggested something kind of radical to the rest of our group.
Rather than a gratitude journal, she wanted to start a gratitude text chain. Just the four of us, every single night, as the day ended. Just what we were grateful for, nothing else. She thought it would help us feel more connected.
We all agreed. I don’t think any one of us thought it would last. But it has. And in fact, I don’t feel complete for the night unless I’ve told them what I’m grateful for, and heard what they are grateful for. We call it our “magic” for the day.
The great thing about doing a gratitude text chain is that you can’t BS your way through it the way you can in your journal. If you keep saying “dinner, my dog, and going to sleep” every day, one of your friends is going to be like, “Yo, you said that yesterday. What else are you grateful for?”
There are a lot of studies about making daily gratitude lists, and the huge positive effects it can have on your life. For some people, journaling may take too much effort, but how much effort does a text message take? Almost none.
We’ve gone through a whole year of days, and that doesn’t mean that every day has been good. Sometimes we’ll start a text with, “Today was tough, but I’m so grateful for my mom’s help, ice cream after dinner, and that the baby is finally asleep.” The point is to focus on the good parts of the day. My friend Elizabeth even sent her daily text on the day that her mom passed away. It is a ritual that has become very dear and important to us.
And if she can text on the day she lost the most important person in her life, I would argue that starting a thankfulness practice is something you can do. Easily.
The bonus of all of this is that as I go through each day, I’ll find myself thinking, Oh man, I really want to text them about this later. Even though I’m not consciously doing so, the good parts of the day stand out to me. Knowing I have that little text to send at night keeps me noticing things to be grateful for all day.
And, if you’re like I was, and have an aversion to the word “grateful” because it sounds too woo-woo or cheesy, just call it something else. Like I said, we call it our “magic” of the day. You could start your text with “The thing that made me happy today was ________,” it whatever makes sense for you.
Do you have a gratitude practice? Would you ever consider a gratitude text chain? I’d love to hear how you make thankfulness a habit!