Seniorlink Center for Clinical Excellence
Gratitude is a powerful feeling. Thinking about what you are grateful for has many benefits. It makes us more resilient, less vulnerable to stress, and overall happier. Taking the time each day to think of at least one thing, big or small, that we are grateful for can change our entire outlook on life. A gratitude journal is a wonderful way to start and maintain a gratitude practice, as are meditations like the one I’m about to share. This meditation will guide you in thinking of the many things you might be thankful for. Listen to this gratitude meditation anytime you are feeling “off” and need a reminder of the wonderful things in your life
Take this time to fully relax and take a break from the real world. Your priority right now is you. This is the time to turn inward and focus on yourself.
You can do this meditation either lying or sitting down. Allow your body to slowly settle down and feel the warm feelings arise when you think about all the things you have to be grateful for. When you feel ready you can start by slowly connecting with your natural breathing pattern. Simply follow the rhythm of your breath and keep doing it. Keep breathing as you focus on it. Feel the air travel in and out of your body.
Gently close your eyes and slowly breathe in a deep, slow breath, in through the nose and a slow breath out of the mouth.
Breathe relaxation IN through the nose and breathe tension OUT through the mouth.
Inhale the feeling of being grateful through the nose: grateful for all the good in your life big and small.
Slowly exhale the feelings of anxiety, worry, loneliness, and grief out through the month.
Once more: Deep inhale of joy and peace and slowly exhale and release all the tension.Return to your normal breathing pattern if you like, or continue to deep breath as you have been. Do whatever feels comfortable and natural as you allow your entire body to become calm and mellow. Let a warm, glowing light of relaxation wash over you.
Think about something you are truly and sincerely grateful for. Take a moment and think about it. It can be anything. It can be an achievement of yours, or a small everyday joy that brings a smile to your face. Perhaps it’s your family, your health, a possession, or a pet. Do you have a favorite plant growing a new leaf? How about a fresh cup of coffee or tea, the change of the seasons, or maybe it is a stranger’s smile. How about a pleasant memory? Think about it, and let it roll around in your brain. What does it look like? Is there a color associated with what you are grateful for? What lovely emotions are you feeling? Are you experiencing happiness, warm fuzzy feelings, endearment, childish glee, sweet tender feelings?
Notice if there is a smile that has crept across your face. Are you feeling relaxed, or is there some place in you body that the muscle could release more and melt into the space where you are sitting or lying down?
There are so many things the we can all be thankful for.
Now, think about all the relationships in your life you’re grateful for and the relationships that enrich you. Explore memoires of your kids or grandkids gleefully running into your arms. Explore memories of your childhood dog lovingly playing with you.
We can be thankful for even the basic things that we sometimes take for granted: warm clothes, clean water, a reliable roof over your head, food on the table, a kind word from a stranger, your favorite chair, or the sound of birds singing when the sun is out.
Whatever it is you are grateful for, truly focus and think about all the ways this thing, person, event, or achievement makes you feel. Internalize this feeling, and remember it anytime you need a boost of positive energy. Allow it to become imprinted in your mind. Think of these things as essential parts of who you are.
The more you try to show your gratitude and recognize the things you can be thankful for, the easier it will become.
Now, gradually return from the meditative state and slowly open your eyes.
The Gift of Gratitude
Thank you for being a caregiver. Showing genuine gratitude will bring even more things you can be grateful for. Our thoughts create our actions, and our actions create our lives. Gratitude helps you grow as a person, makes your life feel fuller and more rewarding.
Recognize this time you took to reflect and relax. You need to be kind to yourself and this is a great way to do it. Anytime you feel a bit pessimistic, simply do a short exercise and think of a couple of things you are grateful for. It will lift your spirits and ease your mind.