Gratitude is truly the simplest practice we can use to feel immediate and real contentment. If you’re reading this blog, you most certainly have much to be grateful for. A tap that flows with clean drinking water, a bed to sleep and dream in every night, a full belly, family and friends, and the list goes on. However, many of us forget or do not take the time to actively practice gratitude. Gratitude, in addition to making others feel good when expressed, has an instantaneous feel-good effect on us, the practitioner. It also trains us to be more mindful of everything we have to be grateful for in this very moment.
If you have any doubt, you can see for yourself how gratitude can improve your state of mind with a brief practice right now. Begin by gently closing your eyes and bringing to mind something or someone that you’re grateful for. This could be anything from your steaming hot cup of morning coffee to your grandmother’s love and care. How does it feel in your body when you bring these thoughts of gratitude to mind? Bring your awareness to these sensations for a few moments before opening your eyes again.
Gratitude can be practiced in a number of ways, either as a formal practice or as a mood boost on the go. Below are a few ideas on incorporating gratitude into your life.
Keep a gratitude journal. Whether it is daily or weekly, spending the time reflecting on what we are grateful for and physically jotting it down, is a great way to practice gratitude.
Think gratitude. Each day, mentally note 3-5 things you’re grateful for immediately upon awaking and/or just prior to drifting off to sleep. Notice the immediate impact doing this has on your mood.
Express your gratitude. Spend some time hand writing thank you notes, drafting thank you e-mails, or calling people to express your appreciation. This is a fun way to introduce your children to gratitude practice as well.
Meditate. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath for a few moments to center yourself. With every inhale breathe in gratitude for everything within and with every exhale breathe out gratitude to and for the world around you.
Practicing gratitude can be as basic as mentally noting 3 things in your life that you appreciate, or it could be spending an afternoon writing thank you notes to people who are important to you. Find at least one way that works for you to incorporate gratitude into your life this week and you’ll be glad you did.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Contact Mindfultime today to learn more about mindfulness meditation.