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If you want a dynamic and effective way to quickly improve your life, and bring happiness, harmony and success to it, look no further than the practice of gratitude.
Gratitude is a deeply undervalued trait in today’s fast-paced, technology-infused world. Many of us have little time to spare. Any free time we are able to enjoy, we usually spend in an attempt to catch our breath before plunging back into the chaos.
The practice of gratitude is one that can have a deep and lasting impact on our wellbeing. The small investment of time it requires is well worth the effort, and with regular practice, gratitude can become a daily habit that permeates your life.
But just what is gratitude? And what’s the best way to practice gratitude on a daily basis? We’re glad you asked.
What is Gratitude?
Simply put, gratitude is the act of being thankful. It’s the acknowledgement and appreciation for the things, people, and circumstances of your life.
You may feel a spontaneous surge of gratitude when someone surprises you with an unexpected gift, like a bouquet of flowers when you’re having a bad day, or a special snack waiting for you on your work desk in the morning.
You may feel gratitude when a friend sends you a kind and uplifting message, or when your partner cooks you dinner.
But we can practice gratitude in far more situations than these. We don’t need to wait for a surprise or act of kindness from a friend to feel grateful for what we have. We can exercise gratitude every day, celebrating the small things we have that we often take for granted.
How Does Gratitude Help?
What’s the point of practicing gratitude? Well, it so happens that being appreciative and thankful has many life-healing benefits.
When we focus on gratitude, we encourage many other positive habits to blossom within. And these habits help us cultivate health and happiness, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. When we carry ourselves with positive energy, those around us are able to conduct that energy and radiate it onward and outward to the next person, and the next.
So, how does gratitude help? Well, here are some of the many benefits a grateful attitude can promote:
- Strengthens friendships
- Encourages humility
- Reduces envy and jealousy
- Increases fulfilment
- Reduces selfishness
- Improves physical and emotional wellbeing
- Increases empathy
- Strengthens self-esteem
Gratitude is the path to a healthier, happier you. How can you incorporate more gratitude in your life? It’s not as challenging as you may think!
Three Gratitude Meditations for A Better Life
Whenever we decide to try something new, the first few steps may be a little shaky and uncertain. But this is quite natural, and mastering your hesitancy is often the most challenging part of the process.
Getting into an attitude of gratitude isn’t all that hard, and once you get the hang of if, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it becomes to practice appreciation and thankfulness in your daily life.
Gratitude meditations are a useful and efficient way to integrate into a more grateful mindset. Try any one of these three gratitude meditations and be sure to let us know how they went!
1. Grateful Mantra Meditation
Too often we find ourselves caught up in the difficulties of our lives. We get bogged down with the many challenges we face, and sometimes find it easier to focus on the negative than on the positive.
This is perfectly natural. But if you find yourself wanting to steer your thoughts in a more positive direction, then a gratitude meditation may do the trick.
We take a lot of things for granted without realizing it. When we focus on the things that go wrong, we often overlook the great multitude of things that are actually going right in our lives.
Gratitude meditations will help you remember the small blessings you may take for granted in your day to day life.
- First, find a comfortable position to rest in, either in a chair, or on a comfortable flat surface.
- Take a moment to center yourself. Turn off the ringer on your phone to ensure you won’t be disturbed. If you’re able, close the door to the room you’re in.
- Now, take a deep breath through your nose. Fill your lungs entirely with air. Let your breath out through your mouth.
- Take a few more deep breaths this way. In through the nose, filling the lungs with air, and out through the mouth.
- Now, we’ll practice a gratitude mantra.
The mantra is: I am grateful for ______________.
- Sounds pretty simple, right? All you need to do is fill in the blank with something you’re grateful for.
- We will repeat this mantra 10 times. Each time you repeat the mantra, try to come up with something different that you’re thankful for. If you’re having trouble coming up with things, start small, focusing on your immediate environment.
You could be thankful for the breeze coming through the window, cooling your face. Or you could be grateful for the soft, plush surface you’re resting on.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
I am grateful for the air in my lungs.
I am grateful for my heart that beats and keeps me alive.
I am grateful for my senses that help me perceive the world.
I am grateful for my comfortable bed.
I am grateful for my clothes that protect me and keep me warm.
I am grateful for the tree in my yard that is beautiful to look at.
I am grateful for the sun that shines through my window and brightens the room.
I am grateful for the food in my fridge.
I am grateful for my job that enables me to provide for myself and/or my loved ones.
I am grateful for my family that cares for me.
I am grateful for my pets that cheer me up.
2. The Yin Yang Gratitude Practice
It’s not easy to focus on the positive when you feel overwhelmed by how difficult your present circumstances may be. This meditation will help you understand that in any challenge, there also exists a lesson. Without darkness, we would not be able to perceive the light.
- Seat yourself in a comfortable position and take a few grounding breaths.
- Draw your attention to something that’s currently troubling you. It’s best to start small with this practice. Draw on a minor annoyance or irritation that’s been bothering you. For example, perhaps the room you’re in is cold and drafty.
- Identify something unpleasant you’re currently faced with, and then see if you can flip the negative circumstance to find a positive aspect. For example, perhaps the room you’re in is cold and drafty, but it has a large, beautiful window that lets in plenty of light.
- As you continue to identify things you’re unhappy with in your life, do your best to find a positive opportunity that the circumstance provides. Perhaps you have a long commute to work that you find stressful. A positive spin on this situation could be that your commute gives you the opportunity to enjoy some great music, listen to a cool podcast, or even practice some mindfulness on the way to work.
Seeking the positive within the negative won’t be easy at first, but this is a skill that will spill over into many other areas of your life.
3. Guided Gratitude Meditation
If you’re short on time and would like some guidance in learning to practice gratitude, why not give this guided meditation a try? It’s only 5 minutes long, and is sure to provide some helpful insight into the life-transforming power of the practice of gratitude.
Can you think of any other way you’d like to incorporate some more gratitude into your life? We want to know your thoughts! Tell us in the comments below!