Gratitude Surprise

In research studies, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. If we reflect on what's good in our lives, we start to look for and see goodness in others, ourselves, and the world. Though I've practiced gratitude in different ways, there's one practice I resisted: choose a gratitude buddy and share every day. I resisted for varied and unimportant reasons: I wasn't sure who to ask; I was leery of creating another to-do; it felt forced. But one morning I realized a gratitude buddy might be good medicine. Especially now, in my current circumstances, which are difficult, heartbreaking, and raw, as well as beautiful and life-affirming. 

I called my friend Steph and pitched the idea. She was game. We established guidelines: share gratitude daily via text; no expectation of response; try it for a month. We've been doing this for a mere two weeks and I notice a positive change. Two things surprised me: 1) having a gratitude buddy keeps me accountable (though I imagine myself practicing gratitude each day, that's not reality—having Steph on the other end keeps me focused on this practice); and 2) each day, I receive a message about something good in Steph's life—I enjoy the receiving as much as the sending.

Some days I hear the text-message sound and think, "What now? Who needs me?" or "What's wrong?" It's a wonderful re-frame to open my phone and see a simple message from Steph, sharing something positive about her life. Likewise, it's helpful for me to get off autopilot and send a text with intention, care, and gratitude.

As with all practices, the process is personal—what works for me might not work for you. But I know this: I resisted for a long while something that now brings me ordinary and profound joy, and this feels worthy of sharing. I'm grateful to be in this world with so many wise, interesting, and beautiful people. Thanks for being you!