You know what? I can’t remember sharing why I send out a weekly Grateful Friday email and how it got started.
Time to remedy that ;).
Looking back, I can identify two memorable events that shifted how I thought about gratitude. Each played a role in showing me why I needed to start a daily gratitude practice. The exact timeline of these events is a wee bit fuzzy to me, but I think they happened in this order.
What does the word “gratitude” mean?
According to Merriam Webster:
- A state of being grateful
- Appreciative of benefits received
- Affording pleasure or contentment
- Pleases by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated
Now about this weekly gratitude email thing…
First, I read a book…
Years ago, I read “One Thousand Gifts”, by Ann Voskamp. In that book, Ann shares her journey of keeping a list of things she noticed each day she was grateful for. A practice she calls a “transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling gifts.”
She kept a notebook on the kitchen counter, where she could quickly jot down what she noticed throughout her day. As her list grew, she noticed how many little things throughout the day there were to be grateful for. Things she hadn’t noticed before or taken the time to appreciate before.
It’s easy to run through our days without stopping to notice what is going on around us. Moving that fast, we miss a lot.
How many times have small moments had a big impact on your life?
It takes intentionally looking to see them. Ann’s book helped encourage me to develop that habit in my life.
Then, I scored high on a test…
But it wasn’t a test I wanted to score high on.
On a visit to see my doctor, she told me, “You scored really high on the anxiety quiz.” Not exactly the news I was longing to hear.
I was rather shocked, actually. Amazingly, I wasn’t having panic attacks. There were no obvious symptoms or behaviors that pointed to anxiety.
After I got home and thought through all that we had talked about, I could see different ways anxiety was showing up. It had built up slowly over the years. It had become a normal way of living. I was just too busy to notice it.
Noticing… I’m sensing a theme!
Anxiety & Gratitude
“They” say that you can’t be anxious and grateful at the same time. I can’t tell you the exact “they” but in my reading and research, this idea has come up often, and I’ve experienced it myself.
What I had learned in reading Ann’s book took on even greater importance. Writing out a daily list of things I was grateful for became a high-priority habit for me to develop.
It has since become an important tool in my anxiety toolbox. I’ve been practicing gratitude for long enough that I can tell a difference when I stop for a few days.
Does it instantly change everything and make it better? Nope. But does it give me a tool to pull out and use when I need it? Absolutely.
Writing out a list of things I am grateful for is now part of my daily routine.
It’s become an important part of many of the journals I’ve published over the years. To me, it is that important.
Then there was this thing called a pandemic…
In February 2021, my anxiety was creeping back up, and I felt the pull to change up a few things. In talking with colleagues and readers of my old blog Selah Reflections, I knew gratitude could make a big difference. The Grateful Friday weekly email was born.
This weekly email has become a part of my routine. It’s helped me purposefully find things to share with you each week.
Even in the weeks when it has been gray and rainy and chilly and it seems like there is nothing to be grateful for. It’s been a reminder that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
Some days I’m simply grateful that it’s the end of a long day. On other days, it’s that it’s about an answer to prayer, or that I could go take a nice long walk on the beach with my dogs.
Big things, little things, and in-between things. I’ve discovered that when I take the time to look, I will always find something to be grateful for.
What are you grateful for this week?
Would you like help starting your own gratitude practice?
Grab my FREE 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit here.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, WordPress Website developer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs Oliver & Mochi. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. Marta also fully believes that change starts with gratitude and that gratitude can change everything. Find out how with the “Grateful Friday 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit”