Finally a Sustainable Gratitude Practice!
I recently listened to an interview with a woman who has suffered with 4 bouts of cancer.
At one point the cancer was in her hip and she actually fractured her hip and didn’t realize it for a week.
She has experienced A LOT of pain.
She credits self-compassion and gratitude as the two most helpful things to deal with her pain.
Not pain meds or any other procedures or interventions.
We all know about the many benefits of having a gratitude practice but the fact that this woman, who has experienced severe and unrelenting pain, said that gratitude was the most helpful thing (along with self-compassion) to deal with her pain is mind blowing to me!
When asked about the specifics of her gratitude practice, she replied that she has a friend with whom she texts daily the things for which she was grateful.
“I want to try that!” I thought to myself.
I have over the years attempted to have a gratitude practice many times.
I would keep a notebook by my bed and write 3 things I was thankful for before going to bed.
For maybe a week (probably less) before I got out of the habit.
I was never able to achieve a sustainable practice.
I thought maybe having other people to whom I was accountable would help me to keep up the practice.
So, I reached out to some friends and started a “gratitude text chain.”
Everyday we test 3 things we are grateful for without repeating things.
Here are some of what I noticed as a result of this practice.
Of course, there are the obvious results.
I was actually sticking with the practice because of the accountability factor.
And I found myself looking out throughout the day for little things to be grateful for so I would have something to
report in my text.
Which I noticed helped to counteract my negativity bias.
And I was needing to search for “little things” to be grateful for once the “obvious” things have been noted (such as the feeling of the warm sun on my skin.)
But there were some beautiful more subtle results that I was not expecting.
I felt a strong connection to these incredible women with whom I was sharing this practice.
When I read what they were grateful for I experienced their abundance in addition to my own.
And I felt a strong welling up of love for them and gratitude to them for being so earnest in their participation in this practice with me.
I loved getting “hits” of love, connection and abundance throughout the day as the texts randomly came in.
This way of practicing gratitude proved to be so much richer and beneficial than I ever anticipated.
How to form a gratitude practice that you will actually stick with:
Invite some people (or person) with whom you feel safe being honest with to participate in a “gratitude challenge.”
Form a text chain with them.
Text 3 things daily (ish) that you are grateful for without repeating things.