365 Days of Gratitude: An Interview with Mariëlle S. Smith
Gratitude is not just about ATTITUDE.
Gratitude is about PRACTICE.
After the success of her first 365 Days of Gratitude Journal, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith brings you Volume 2. Same journal but with an entirely different look!
After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, Mariëlle discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.
365 Days of Gratitude, Vol. 2 is an undated, guided journal. Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, it was designed to help you create a sustainable gratitude practice too. Commit to the life-changing power of gratitude today and order your copy now!
I’m honored that Mariëlle stopped by on her virtual book tour to answer some of my questions about practicing gratitude, libraries, and catch phrases. I hope you enjoy!
Hey Mariëlle! Your bio says you’ve always had a love of libraries. What aisle could we find you in?
Depending on which book you’re looking for, you’ll find me in the self-help aisle or the spiritual aisle. If your library has a craft aisle, or even one specifically aimed at writers, you’ll be able to find some
of my books there as well. If you’re looking for the books I’ve co-authored under a pen name, you can find those in the
Can you tell us about “the moment” that you realized how essential gratitude is for personal growth?
I don’t think I had one specific ‘moment’; it was more of a slow awakening. Before I fully committed myself to practising gratitude, the idea of gratitude had been on my radar for years and I grew more intrigued the more I heard and read about it. Once I started writing down my gratitudes daily, it dawned on me pretty quickly just how transformative it was, but I never had a ‘Oh my, this actually works!’ moment. I guess I rather had a
‘Oh my, this actually works really well!’ moment a few months into the practice.
Your bio also says you have always had a love of reading and writing stories. Why are stories so important to you?
Because stories have the ability to change lives. Both writing and reading certain stories can be healing. Stories can help us process trauma, whether personal or collective. Working through the stories we tell ourselves about the world and our place in it, and transforming these so they fit our true selves, that’s also healing.
Stories open windows to other perspectives, which helps us take responsibility. They open doors, showing us how life could be lived differently. There’s a reason books keep getting banned: the word is powerful. Words can effect change. Jeanette Winterson said it well: ‘Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job.’
In a similar vein, Danielle Orner said: ‘Writing is a dangerous profession. There is no telling what hole you may rip in society’s carefully woven master narrative.’ I love that about stories. They can turn upside down everything we thought we knew and shed light on what we might otherwise not have noticed, showing the cracks in the veneer. Of course, some stories are mostly here to comfort us, to offer us a momentary escape from reality, which we need too.
Your latest book, “365 of Gratitude Journal”, emphasizes establishing a gratitude practice. Tell us something that may surprise a skeptic about practicing gratitude.
That is a really good question! I think the most astonishing thing I’ve learned during my own practice is that, even if you don’t do it every day, you’ll start benefitting again as soon as you take a moment to sit down with your journal and write down your gratitudes.
The overall impact on your daily life is definitely bigger, and longer-lasting, if you stick to it every day, but if you slip up—and I slip up all the time—the feeling practising gratitude gives me returns as soon as I pick up my journal again and start anew.
Practicing gratitude is great. But why should a person also journal about their practice? How has journaling about gratitude helped you with your own practice?
While the word is powerful, the written (or recorded) word is even more powerful, because it gives us something to return to, to reflect on. This is why journaling in general is so beneficial: it can help you see and learn things about yourself and your life, if you look back at what you’ve written down previously. The same goes for practising gratitude and my 365 Days of Gratitude Journal is set up the way it is precisely because of that. The weekly, four-weekly, and quarterly reflection moments make you look
at what came to pass to see if there’s anything to be learned from it. This is where growth happens. Yes, practising gratitude daily is extremely beneficial, even if you don’t write anything down. But if you want your practice to help you grow, the writing it down part is vital.
What is your catchphrase? And if you don’t have one, what would it be?
I don’t think I have one… I asked my partner and she blanked, too. I do say ‘One step at a time’ a lot, so perhaps that qualifies?
What made you commit your life to gratitude?
What made me actually commit to the practice was meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in ages and being in awe of how much he had changed since we last talked. What he’d been doing differently was that he now had a daily meditation and gratitude practice. At the time, I was already meditating every day, but I struggled writing down what I was grateful for. He suggested sharing the prompts he used in his daily gratitude practice, and that’s what changed everything.
The prompts he shared weren’t exactly aligned with me, but it gave me something to work with. Once I’d adapted the process to my liking, sitting down with it (almost) every day quickly became a habit. This adapted version eventually became the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal.
We all feel ungrateful at times. What do you do when your feeling ungrateful?
I look for something to be grateful for in that moment. This sounds much easier than it is, but once you’ve established a solid gratitude practice, you get better at it. I volunteer at an organisation that neuters and takes care of the stray cats in our area. The day after I started a fresh copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal, someone they never caught went on a
killing spree past two of our feeding stations. We found about fifteen cats killed, with at least another fifteen missing, and two cats with a broken jaw.
That day and those that followed were some of the worst in my life, but I forced myself to write in my gratitude journal every day. Overall, some days scored a 1, others a 3, some a 2, but I found something to be grateful for every day:
-‘I was there to help identify the cats.’
– ‘We found Daphne alive and were able to catch her.’
– ‘We found and caught Suzy! My brother is going to adopt her.’
– ‘Belle and Rebel are alive.’
– ‘Each of my clients being understanding and telling me not to worry about their deadlines.’
Did it change what happened? Of course it didn’t, but it helped me through. The pit of despair was looming, but forcing my brain to think of something, anything, to be grateful for amongst all the horror helped me stay away from the edge.
What three books are you most grateful for?
Brené Brown – I Thought It Was Just Me (but It Isn’t)
Jandy Nelson – I’ll Give You the Sun
Marianne Williamson – A Return to Love
What food (are you most grateful for)?
My partner’s vegan burgers
My mum’s voice
What fictional character?
Magnus Bane, from Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series.
What real life-person that you never met?
Excerpt from 365 Days of Gratitude Journal:
I’m not here to sell you on gratitude. There are many articles and research papers I could be citing to convince you just how great practising gratitude is for you. I think you’re already aware of that, though. Perhaps you’ve read some of those articles and papers or maybe you just know
it somewhere deep down—or not so deep down.
I’m not hooked on gratitude because it works wonders on my blood pressure and promises to help me sleep better. Although it probably does that, too.
I’m hooked on gratitude because it enables me to perceive everything in life as magical again.
I’m hooked because I’m not the same person I was since I started practising it. And because I slip and return to being that anxious, burned out, overachieving workaholic as soon as I stray from the gratitude path—which happens far more often than I care to admit.
Gratitude is a commitment for life. I created this journal to help you commit and turn your gratitude practice into a sustainable one.
Mariëlle S. Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Mariëlle S. Smith is a writer, writing coach, and editor. She lives in Cyprus, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.
All purchase links can be found on: https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude
Deluxe edition Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DDX9NNZ
Jay Armstrong is a writer, speaker, former high school English teacher, and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)
Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time.
You can also visit Jay at jayarmstrongwrites.com
3 comments found
Thanks for hosting!
Thank you so much for having me, Jason. I loved being interviewed by you.
Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading this post and I am looking forward to reading your gratitude journal. On a personal note, I love Magnus! And Alex And Simon. And Isabelle…