Meditation on Gratitude
You can have all the things in the world—Lamborghinis, a loving family, me as your private jet pilot—but if you don’t know how to practice this one thing, you will never truly be happy. That one thing is (drum roll please)…gratitude.
A common misconception about gratitude is that it’s all about being happy and positive. Gratitude is more than just appreciating someone or something. It’s also being content with what you have, even when you don’t have what you want yet. The biggest issue I see when it comes to gratitude is that people think they need “something more” to be grateful. So they hold off on gratitude till they get that something more.
“I’ll be grateful when I get that raise I was promised.”
“I’ll be grateful when I can get that nicer car.”
“I’ll be grateful when I’ve paid off all my student loans.”
“I’ll be grateful when Sally finally acknowledges my hard work (or me).” (But seriously though Sally, c’mon!)
“When we don’t know how much we really need to be happy and fulfilled, the default easily becomes ‘more’.” – Tweet this.
This is a scarcity mindset, and walking in this mindset of “not enough” will forever put you on the path of “never enough.” Gratitude is learning to let go of that scarcity mindset by learning to be content and appreciating what we have. Positive psychology research has found that starting and ending your day with gratitude can:
• Increase your happiness, joy, and optimism
• Strengthen your sense of connection and belonging
• Improve your relationships
• Increase your compassion and empathy
• Boost your immune system and lower blood pressure
There are two simple gratitude practices I want to share with you today: gratitude meditation and journaling.
The Practice: Gratitude Meditation
Take a moment to set yourself up with the intention for your meditation: practicing gratitude. Sitting (or standing) in a comfortable position—relaxed but alert—take a few deep breaths. Then as you close your eyes, allow your breath to return to its natural flow. Keep your attention on your breathing.
When you’re ready, bring to mind something (or someone) you’re grateful for. Don’t overthink it, and don’t force yourself. Just let it come to you. It could something big and important in your life or just the finer things. Remember to be specific and dig into why you’re grateful for this.
Acknowledge what it is you’re grateful for and how it makes you feel. Pay attention to the warm sensation of gratitude that’s filling you up at the moment and take a moment to experience that sensation.
Then, when you’re ready, simply let it go and bring your attention back to your breathing to complete your meditation. If you like, you can take a few moments to write down what you were grateful for today. If it’s someone you’re grateful for, take the opportunity to go express your appreciation. Give them a call, drop them a note, or leave them a hug or smile.
• Gratitude Journal
One of the simplest ways to start and end your day with gratitude is to keep a journal to write down everything you’re grateful for. Create your own journal, or you can find really cool ones to write in every day.
I personally love the Five Minute Journal because it helps you make a game-changing habit of becoming better every day. The journal includes inspirational quotes, weekly challenges, and questions to help spark ideas when writing. There’s an app for it too—grab it here.
My friends UJ and Alex (creators of the Five Minute Journal) made this video to show you how to use the Five Minute Journal—check it out here.
Another great tool for everyday writing is 750 Words.
Set up a gratitude practice for yourself—meditation or journaling. If you can start and end your day with a gratitude practice, great! If not, do it at least once a day. Bring in your partner or your friends too and it’ll be a total game-changer. Simply forward them this email.
What are you grateful for today?
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