The three-minute, Oprah-approved gratitude hack that'll bring you closer to your partner.

Like many, with Oprah back in the forefront of our minds, we’ve been reading self-help articles and trying to be purposeful in an attempt to make ourselves better people.

Let’s blame it on both the New-Year-new-you mantras and Oprah’s legendary Golden Globes speech.

So we were all ears when Mamamia editor, Gemma Garkut, shared with us one of the best happiness boosting tips that she says bought her and her partner closer together: the three-minute gratitude email chain.

And what’s one of the talk-show host/future presidential candidate’s key tenants? Gratitude, or the simple act of bring thankful.

Gemma said that she’s been keeping a gratitude email chain with her partner for the last three months and the results have been amazing.

Having lived with her partner for just over a year, they realised that even though they were over the moon about that arrangement, they naturally fell in a “vortex of negativity”, using the time they spent together complaining.

“We wanted to regularly remind each other that we have a very full, happy life, and somehow hold each other accountable to making sure we don’t forget how lucky we are,” she said.

“That’s when we read the well known ‘science’ of gratefulness apparently being the key to happiness.

“It’s recommended to write down a list of what you’re grateful for in a journal, but knowing neither of us would put the theory into practice on our own, we decided to create our own version.”

LISTEN: Robin Bailey and Bec Sparrow deep dive on gratitude, and ask the question: how can we raise our kids to be full of it? Post continues after audio.


And that’s how their email chain hack was born. At 3pm everyday they both take three minutes to write down three things they’re both grateful for, and while every day ended up being a “bit of a stretch,” they’ve now adjusted it to about three times a week, and it’s just as effective.

“It’s made a huge difference,” says Gemma.

“It’s like a little burst of warmth every time I read my partner’s list. Sometimes they’re silly and menial, like ‘I’m grateful I got to work early today so I could get a coffee’, and sometimes more profound.

“Aside from helping our day-to-day happiness, it’s meant we are more in tune with what’s important to both of us in the long run.”

Still not convinced?

All it takes is three minutes, once a day. Image via Getty.


The gratitude hack has a scientific backing to it too.

In a study conducted by the University of Miami, in a 10-week trial that asked one group of people to write a few sentences focusing on things they were grateful for, and the other on their daily irritations, the first group reported back with increased feeling of optimism and feeling better about their lives in general (as expected). However, the follow on effects also included increased willingness to exercise and fewer visits to the doctors.

For Oprah, she says just the mere act of being grateful for "what you have and what you can do versus what you can't", will manifest in more positive feelings, kind of like a good attracts good type situation.

"Just a little bit - one good feeling helps build on another good feeling," and eventually it "increases the energy of gratitude," she says.

Her advice is to start small - the ability to breathe, to use your hands, that you're wearing comfy shoes or that you bought (or have the ability to buy) a yummy lunch to work, and when it comes to sharing this exercise with a partner you've got the other person to hold you accountable.

Because at the end of the day, as difficult as it might be when you're tired, grumpy, too hot/too cold, had a fight with your partner, friend or colleague, there's always something good in even the shittiest situation.

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of effort, and encouragement, to find it.


LISTEN: This is what women are talking about this week, the Mamamia Out Loud team talk everything from the new moon, tennis and their weekend recommendations to get your eyeballs into.

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