In times of trouble, we often lose sight of all the things we can be grateful for. Our human brain can sadly be conditioned to remember the bad, dwell on the negative, and we can get lost in the depth of darkness.
Through the wonderful power of meditation, we can begin to get ourselves out of the depths. Although meditation is not the full solution, it’s a great medicine to add to your toolbox when things feel too much and need to come back to the light in this world.
Here is my little guide on Gratitude Meditation to help you in times of need.
What is Gratitude Meditation?
It might seem obvious - meditating to feel gratitude. Simply put, yes, but there is so much more to it. Gratitude Meditation can allow you to feel gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life, and encourage you to start expressing that gratitude in whatever way feels right to you!
Meditation is often perceived as sitting in a dark room, in silence, emptying the mind for an hour. That may work for some, but with Gratitude Meditation, this can also be an active meditation to allow your mind to start seeing all the wonderful things in your life!
How can I engage in an active Gratitude Meditation?
There are a number of ways you can actively meditate to encourage feelings of gratitude:
1. Journalling, which can be done in a number of ways - pick one that suits you!
Write a daily journal of all the things that were positive in your day that you are grateful for
Write down three good things that happened in your day
Write down 3 bad things that happened in your day, then make it into a positive i.e. ‘I had an argument with my Mum’ becomes ‘I am so lucky to have a mum, and one that cares about me enough to argue with me!’
2. Start your day with a positive affirmation. There are plenty of apps and books that can provide these! Maybe write it down somewhere, or repeat it to yourself a few times in a quiet space to let it be your intention for the day.
3. Write a love letter! Maybe to someone you feel grateful for, or maybe to yourself. Write a letter of gratitude and why you love them, and maybe even send it to them to share the love. Or keep it, and read it back to yourself whenever you need it.
4. Take a walking meditation. Go out for a wander, and as you walk, just think of all the things you are grateful for. Maybe the nature you see, the things you hear, the body you have to walk with...whatever comes to you during your little walk about. I guarantee you will come home feeling a lot lighter and happier!
There are many more gratitude enhancing activities - just take a look here!
What about a gentle meditation for gratitude?
Alongside the activities above, the traditional methods of meditation can also allow us to feel more gratitude. You can even use the activities above to help you settle into meditating, and encourage you to focus as you find stillness.
Before you start, find yourself in a cosy, peaceful, safe space. Make sure you have something comfortable to sit on, and that your seated foundation is strong:
Legs crossed with sit bones sinking into the earth
Back straight and lengthened to the sky
Hands resting on knees, palms up or down
Shoulders relaxed away from ears
Jaw unclenched and eyebrows relaxed
There are a number of meditation methods you can use to help quieten the mind and encourage the gratitude to wash over your body:
Listening meditation: Focus your ears on the sounds around you. Listen intently to them, see them in your mind. And as you see and hear them, feel them too, and let yourself feel the gratitude for those surrounding sounds.
Affirmations: Read an affirmation, perhaps your daily one, and repeat it to yourself as many times as you need to let it embed. Try saying it in your mind with every inhale, and take a releasing exhale out.
Mala / Prayer beads: There are a two ways you can use your beads to help your Gratitude Meditation:
Pick a positive word or mantra, and as you feed your beads through your fingers, say that to yourself until you reach the end. Then sit in peace for your chosen length of time.
With every bead that passes, think of something or someone you feel gratitude for, and let your mind see this. Take your time, then sit in meditation once you have reached the end of your beads.
Visualisation meditation: There are a number of visualisations you can use to help you feel gratitude. A favourite of mine is the ‘smoke’ visualisation. With every breath in, see yourself breathe in pure white air full of positive words like love, friendship and joy. With every exhale, breath out dark, black smoke that is full of the words we don’t need - hate, distrust, ugly. Continue this visualisation, until all the black smoke has gone from the body and you begin exhaling the pure, white, positive air into the world.
Guided meditation: There are many gratitude guided meditations online that you can use to help you meditate. These are very useful to allow you to focus, and delve deep into your meditation. I can recommend this short, but effective, Deepak Chopra meditation to help you.
I hope this little guide has helped give you inspiration on how you can find gratitude through meditation. If you need further help or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact me for some meditation one on one time.