Do you want to reap more from your life – whether in the form of happiness, enriched relationships, enhanced sense of well-being or increased efficiency? Do you wish to amplify your existence and make life more meaningful, instead of feeling like you barely exist amidst the chaos of daily life? Gratitude meditation can help you achieve these things, and it's also one of the simplest meditation types you can practise.
Derived from the Latin word gratus, gratitude is the ability to feel thankful and show appreciation for all things good in your life. Have you ever observed how you feel a spur-of-the-moment gratefulness when someone does something kind for you, or surprised you with a lovely gesture or gift? The emotion you felt was that of gratitude, and studies show that practising thankfulness every day can help change your life for the better.
In fact, scientific studies have found that gratitude can be the ‘social glue’ that promotes positive outlook, strengthens relationships, and help us to become better, happier human beings.
Gratitude meditation, as indicated by the name, is a kind of meditation centered on feeling grateful. While there are many other styles of meditations out there, gratitude meditation is one of the easiest you can practice anywhere, even in the midst of a hectic work schedule. What's more, it's also one of the most rewarding styles of meditation.
RELATED: Meditation styles – 6 types to know
Gratitude meditation focuses on bearing in mind various things you're thankful for in life and letting that feeling of appreciation take a stronghold inside yourself. For example, it could be appreciating family members who are always there for you, friends who always cheer you up, or colleagues who share the workload with you so you don’t have to do overtime.
Great to be grateful: gratitude meditation has many benefits
Additionally, you don't always have to meditate on a noticeable act – gratitude meditation also enables you to take pleasure in the simple things in life you're grateful for like the ability to see, hear, taste and walk, or something as intangible as the important lesson you learnt from a difficult phase you were going through at some point in your life.
Research suggests that the foundations of gratitude were inspired from religion. Mindfulness and meditation expert Jack Kornfield is quoted as saying: “Buddhist monks begin their day with chants of gratitude for their blessed lives. Meanwhile, Martin Luther described gratitude as the “basic Christian attitude”. Indeed, millions of Christians celebrate Thanksgiving every year to count their blessings and express their appreciation for all they have.
Meanwhile, Hinduism advocates that “one with an attitude of gratitude is closest to achieving Moksh, or freedom from karmic life-cycles,”, states Uma Mysorekar, M.D.
“Gratitude meditation also enables you to take pleasure in the simple things in life, like the ability to see, hear, taste and walk.”
Do you have to be religious to practice gratitude? Of course not. Experts agree that gratitude is not limited to religious pursuits – you can be thankful for the gifts of life without being religious.
There are many advantages to incorporating a gratitude meditation practice into your life. Here are five of the most important:
Studies have shown that practising gratitude can consistently and effectively make you happier. Counting your blessings can make you feel more optimistic and help you develop and maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. Indeed, a study revealed that gratitude could be the most-needed positive intervention that can prevent depressive thoughts and help individuals lead a happier, content life.
Could you ever have guessed that gratitude meditation can also rewire your brain to be better equipped to deal with adversity or difficult phases of life? Practising gratitude meditation sensitizes the brain towards helpful acts and appreciable things in life, thus enabling us to break free from the endless loop of worries, rumination, fears and insecurities.
Practising gratitude meditation has even been show to protect marriage and strengthen friendships. Expressing your thanks for friends, colleagues and spouse can make them feel appreciated and valued, reinforcing your bond with them and preventing miscommunication or conflict.
Feeling grateful for good things in your life can make a difference in your outlook towards life, enabling you to feel better, live to the fullest and even sleep better. Indeed, grateful people are more likely to experience heightened state of mind, eat healthily, exercise more often and live longer.
Ever noticed how some people make friends effortlessly and instantly? Grateful individuals can trust more easily, express their appreciation in more straightforward fashion, and make friends with strangers with better ease. A 2014 study from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia was the first to show that for thanking a new acquaintance for their help meant they were more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you. “Saying thank you provides a valuable signal that you're someone with whom a high quality relationship could be formed,” said UNSW psychologist Dr Lisa Williams, who co-conducted the research.
Great news: kickstarting a gratitude meditation routine is simple! All you need is a quiet corner and minimal time (10-20 minutes on average, depending on the technique you choose).
“Gratitude meditation is one of the easiest you can practice anywhere, even in the midst of a hectic work schedule.”
You could even start small, and simply be thankful for the basic amenities and privileges you have in life. Several experts (and even celebrities like Oprah) suggest that maintaining a gratitude journal to jot down all the things, actions, people etc you’re grateful for, can transform your outlook towards life tremendously. Here are three YouTube videos to inspire you to get your gratitude meditation routine up and running:
This meditation can form a part of your morning ritual, preparing you to start the day on a more positive note. Ever feel trampled under the weight of senseless material pursuits, or dissatisfied by what you have achieved so far? Practising gratitude daily using this technique will open your eyes to the fact that what you have is enough, and that you are perfect.
Using the powerful tool of Law of Attraction, this gratitude meditation technique shows you how to attract miracles in your life. Appreciating the smallest gestures and acts of kindness and being thankful for everything you have will help you manifest happiness and abundance every single day.
Renowned business magnate and educator Dan Lok shows how to energize your day and attract abundance by being grateful for everything you have using a simple yet effective visualization technique.
You begin by relaxing and asking yourself what and who all you're grateful for, and if there are things you're taking for granted. This meditation is very easy, and helps you develop more compassion, empathy and appreciation for everything good.
In conclusion, the benefits of gratitude meditation are many. Gratitude is not only a humble acknowledgment of how blessed our life is, but also a doorway for attracting abundance, happiness and prosperity our way. What's more, incorporating gratitude into our daily lives is very easy and hardly requires any additional effort. Are you getting started today? ●
Main image: shutterstock/ WAYHOME Studio
Liked this? Then check out Top 5 benefits of gratitude practice
Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
Now is a good time to discover the ancient Tibetan practice of Tonglen meditation writes Calvin Holbrook. With each in-breath, we take in others’
If you're an anxious person, practising yoga regularly could help to regulate your stress response. From regulating breathing to breaking the worry
Whether it’s a friend or a family member, panic attacks are scary to witness. Calvin Holbrook explains how you can support someone who is having a