We all desire to lead happy, healthy lives while fostering great relationships with those we love. Those who search for the ultimate source of happiness eventually discover that it’s extremely easy and rather obvious to find genuine happiness – the source lies within us! Implementing simple techniques such as exercising and watching what we eat allows us to take proper care of ourselves. Being thankful is also an effective and often overlooked way of achieving true happiness. Gratitude meditation simply involves mindfully focusing on those things that we’re deeply grateful for, whether big or small.
How does gratitude meditation work?
When a Buddhist monks of a particular sect arise, they start the day with a unique chant that expresses their deep gratitude for the blessings they’ve received in their lives. These monks also offer gratitude for the difficulties they’re going through. There are a myriad of things to be grateful for. They include:
- the breath of life
- the beauty of nature
- the refreshing springs of water that flow uninterrupted
- the gift of family & friends
However, it’s important to point out that our gratitude shouldn’t just stem from the good things in life. Rather, we ought to be grateful for everything that life throws at us, including the bad. Indeed, we often learn tremendously from the problems we’ve faced. It is said that disappointment is an excellent teacher, compared to success.
One of the best ways to show gratitude is to practice guided gratitude meditation. This involves listening to an audio (or watching a video) of a meditation instructor as he/she guides you through an entire session of gratitude meditation. Before commencing on any session, you should find a serene place to meditate. Next, find a comfortable meditation posture that you like. Your eyes should either close gently or maintain a soft forward gaze. As you take deep breaths to anchor you in the present moment, you’ll start feeling centered and peaceful. The process that follows is pretty straightforward – simply follow your guided gratitude meditation teacher and you’ll be in safe hands.
Keeping a gratitude journal
One effective technique you can use to document your experiences is writing on a gratitude journal. This type of journal allows you to write down the various things you’re grateful about, then mentioning them (or thinking about them) as you perform your gratitude meditation. You can also use it to write gratitude letters to those individuals who have truly impacted your life. Gratitude journals don’t necessarily need to be part and parcel of your guided gratitude meditation practice. However, they’re a fun way to help you view the bigger picture and remain grateful all day long.
Benefits of gratitude meditation
Apart from improving feelings of gratitude among individuals, gratitude meditation offers a wide range of benefits – all of which tie back to gratitude. Some of the advantages of gratitude meditation include:
- Elevated levels of wellbeing
- Lower depression levels
- Improved quality of sleep
- More trust in people you don’t know
These assortment of benefits were proven after a series of studies were conducted by researchers such as Nezlek and Sirois. The rewards normally ensue after a relatively brief period of gratitude interventions. This means that practicing gratitude meditation even for a short period can dramatically enhance your wellbeing.
As the adage goes, charity begins at home. Before expressing gratitude for others around you, it’s important to first be grateful for everything that’s happening in your own life. Give thanks for the subtlest of things: your stunning eyes that help you to see the beauty in a rose flower, your delicate nose that smells the rose’s exquisite aroma and your lovely ears that listen to the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the leaves. Next, extend your gratitude to those you hold dear. You could also shift your awareness to your community, your country and your environment in general.
Ready to try guided gratitude meditation? The Mindworks: Guided Meditation App comes highly recommended. It contains an array of daily guided meditations and Mind Talks that will greatly enrich your life. Try it and experience for yourself. More importantly, have fun meditating!