A Gratitude Exercise You Can Do With Your Loved Ones (On Email!)

I've read a bunch of articles about how to practice gratitude, and every time I see one, I think, Yes! I should do that! And I start my little gratitude journal, writing down what I am thankful for.

Three weeks later, it sits staring at me, a reminder of yet another failed attempt at life hacking.

Well, I am here to report that I have cracked the code. If gratitude is the prize you're after, I have stumbled upon an easy way to bring this into practice your daily life. Try it and see if you don't get hooked.

How it works:

Three of us (me, my husband, and my best friend) agreed to write down three things we were grateful for each day in an email and send it to the other two.

You were not allowed to repeat, but items could be mundane or lofty, for example:

  • I am deeply grateful for my morning egg sandwich lovingly prepared by my neighborhood coffee shop.
  • I have existential gratitude for being-ness.

We don't care if someone misses a day. This makes the practice feel like an opportunity instead of yet another obligation.

Why it works:

Three is a great number of people for a gratitude list. It's enough to create the desire to write something worth reading, but small enough to feel intimate (no fear of shame about what you're grateful for).

Having two other participants creates a gentle kind of accountability. As soon as a message comes across my email, I do mine.

Even if we don't post, we read the others, which inspires its own gratitude. Awesomeness.

What I love about this:

Picking people you love to share this with is like watching people across the room at a party—you remember, Oh, yeah, that person is a whole person, not just the version I see every day. And now you see the world through their eyes. This trick allows me to see people I love in a new way every day.

Not being able to repeat items pushes your imagination and creativity. The longer it goes on, you start to see the incredible breadth of things you have to be thankful for, which just amplifies your general gratitude.

Email is a blessing for once! It allows efficiency, yet leaves something to read years later, the way you pour through old friend’s letters.

So, give it a try. Invite two people to share a daily message of thankfulness with and crack the gratitude code.

We have been doing it for 6 weeks now, which is about five weeks longer than I have done anything to practice gratitude.

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