Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude when Practicing Mindfulness
You’re grateful when you’re aware of what you have rather than what you don’t. Mindfulness is the starting point for gratitude. Without mindfulness, you can’t be aware of all the things that are going well in your life. A grateful person is therefore a mindful person. Mindfulness with gratitude gives a sense of being more fully alive.
With practice you can develop gratitude the way you can with any skill, such as cooking or learning an instrument. The more you practice, the easier feeling grateful becomes. The more grateful you are for everything in your life, the more things you find to be grateful for! You begin to notice more and thereby strengthen your mindful awareness.
If you feel frustrated or low, try working on gratitude. With gratitude, the most difficult of days can be lit with hope and joy.
In the science of positive psychology, gratitude has been shown to be amongst the most positive attitudes to cultivate. Recent studies are beginning to show that gratitude has a uniquely powerful relationship with wellbeing. Over time you can change the programming in the brain by practicing gratitude. You automatically focus on what’s going well in your life and notice those things more often in a positive feedback loop.
Here’s a simple mindfulness exercise to get you started with gratitude.
Think of something you don’t yet feel grateful for. Perhaps you feel resentful or ungrateful about your job, a particular relationship or your commute to work.
Now think of all the things that are good about that particular thing. Give yourself two minutes and challenge yourself to come up with as many good things as possible.
For example, if you have a long commute to work in the car, you could feel grateful that you can afford a car; that you have a job to drive to; that you have the ability to drive; that you have some time to be by yourself, listening to the radio.
Think of as many positive aspects for which you are grateful. Try to list at least ten things.
Write down three things you’re grateful for. Commit to doing this on a daily basis for a week and you many find yourself being grateful for all sorts of other things too!
Buy yourself a nice little journal and place it by your bed. Every evening, before going to sleep, jot down a few things you’re grateful for. You’ll probably find that you sleep better and wake up with a little more positivity and freshness.