I’m pretty sure it all started while drinking beer in the pool. Shouldn’t all good ideas start that way? Surely all great stories begin with an alcoholic beverage and a body of water.
I was talking to my sister about a concept I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier. Gretchen says:
Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
Apparently, the late historian Alice Morse Earle is actually the woman responsible for the quote, but I first heard it from Gretchen, so I’ll give credit to both of them.
Regardless of where it originated, the concept resonates with me. I’m not a naturally positive person. I consider myself a realist, although others may see me as pessimistic. Either way, I have to intentionally focus on the good, and research shows us that there’s a lot of reason to do that.
Focusing on gratitude helps you:
- Feel more positive
- Take note of increasingly more positive things in your life
- Have and express more gratitude
- Better deal with adversity
- Improve your mental and physical health
- Develop better relationships and attract more positive people
These are just some of the benefits of focusing on gratitude. For me, it’s all about recognizing what’s good in my life and being intentional about enjoying those things.
My sister was going through a difficult time, so we agreed that we would start sending each other a daily text about something positive from our day. When I told my friend Nanci, who is my exercise accountability partner, about it, she wanted in. So, we added a daily positive to our exercise screenshot that we text each other every day. My friend, Kelly, was going through a difficult time too, so I suggested she and I send each other the same texts.
What I Learned from Months of Gratitude Texts
I’ve exchanged daily gratitude texts with these three women for at least six months. Our process doesn’t have a lot of rules. The only restrictions are that your positive must be something that happened in your life that day and you have to be specific when telling about it. So, you can’t write something vague like, “I’m thankful for food and shelter.” Although those are EXTREMELY worthy of gratitude, there’s an assumption that they’re always positive. Focusing on unique things makes us dig a little deeper.
Most days it’s pretty simple to think about what I’m grateful for. I usually have multiple things in each message. For example, yesterday’s text read:
So happy to spend time with all of our parents today. And I’m going to sleep like a rock tonight with everyone under the same roof. Thrilled to have a whole week with my girl.”
Some days my positive is something big like a huge win at work. Other days it’s simple like starting my morning with a cup of coffee and a book.
It can be challenging to find something positive to write about on certain days. We all have bad days. That’s when I go back to the idea that there’s something good every day. My sister and I have a pretty good running joke about the day my positive was the delicious asparagus I had for dinner. You have to dig a little deeper on those asparagus days.
Through these daily texts I’ve learned:
- Abundance. Most days I have multiple positive things to write about. Some days I even shorten my message because it gets so long. That’s a good thing.
- Recognition. As I go throughout my day, I find myself thinking, “I need to remember this later for my positive.” Noting the positive things during my day tells me that I’m recognizing them.
- Flipping the Script. I’ve also found that, when something goes wrong or I have a negative feeling, I try to flip the script. I ask myself what also could be true or if there’s a more positive way to look at the happening.
But the most important thing about the gratitude texts is that I look forward to them.
I love opening those three women’s texts at the end of the day and seeing what’s good in their world.
I’ve found that reading their positives and then the natural discussion that often results is one of my favorite parts of every day. It helps me feel connected to them and like we’re sharing our stories with each other. It’s a positive, if you will.
Growing Daily Gratitude
I enjoy sharing daily positives so much that I added more people. Without really even talking to them about it, I started sending my daily positive to two additional friends. They both respond every day and seem to love it as much as I do. Ironically, one of them just sent me her positive before I’ve even shared mine, which I love! It seems like she’s getting as much from this practice as I am.
Yes, exchanging five text messages every night may be a lot, but it doesn’t seem like a chore because I enjoy reading them so much.
I’ve even started thinking about how to scale this daily gratitude practice. I love that it’s an intimate thing between my close friends and I, but so many people could benefit. Maybe it’s time to create a group or take this practice to social media? I’m not sure. I also don’t want to ruin what it is now, which makes me say…
Steal This Idea!
Growing daily gratitude is where you come in. I want you to steal this idea. Do you have a few close friends that you could text with every evening to share a daily positive? Try it out. Share for a week or so and see how you feel. Follow the “rules” I listed above. Be specific about the things you share and why you chose them.
I would be so honored if you stole this idea and reported back to me about how it goes. Feel free to message me on social or post below.
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