A short meditation: expression of gratitude
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Expressing gratitude is easy, simple and free. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and can only take as much as a minute or two of your time. However, it is advisable that you do it in a quiet moment, without distractions - certainly not while doing six other things simultaneously. In order to achieve its effect and make it truly positive for you, you need to concentrate and focus on the positive experience - this is the only thing that should be on your mind while doing it.
You can do it anywhere, but personally I prefer to do it in a quiet place, without distractions like phone calls, work, other people, etc. Possibly somewhere outside, with the sun shining and a beautiful vista in front of my eyes, like on the top of a mountain, or overlooking the sea. For me, witnessing the splendor of nature and breathing crisp fresh air enhances the experience. But you can do it just as effectively at home, in the comfort of your bed, wrapped in soft warm sheets, or in a bath, etc. Wherever you feel good, comfortable, at peace.
You do not need another person to express gratitude. It is best if you express it internally, just by thinking or, if you prefer, saying it out loud. Of course, this does not mean that it is not beneficial to express your thanks to other people as well, whenever you get the chance. You do not have to be religious or believe in anything supernatural to do it. You can express gratitude to god (if you're a believer); or to the universe; to nature; to the Force (if you’re a Star Wars fan); to whatever you are inspired by. You can express gratitude to sheer random chance or coincidence, or even to yourself, if you are confident that you are completely in control of your life (whether such a belief is realistic, is a discussion for another time).
Don’t overthink it. Be grateful for the little things. For all the things you usually take for granted. For things you don’t even notice you have, until they are taken away. For example, this was my gratitude meditation this morning:
“Thank you (insert your preference here):
For this beautiful view of the sea and the palm trees swaying in the wind
For being able to see this view, hear the sounds of the waves and smell the fresh scent of the sea and pine trees
For this amazing life I am able to live, full of exciting experiences, positive and negative lessons, learning and discoveries
For all the wonderful people which I am surrounded with, for my family and friends who love me and care for me, and are there for me in times of need
For my health - for waking up in the morning feeling good and without pain, full of energy
For my healthy body, the most complex and finest instrument I will ever possess, which enables me to do sports and activities which I love and which fill me with positive energy and joy
For the money I have, which enables me to engage in activities I love, to travel, to kitesurf, enjoy great food with friends and family, etc.”
For the delicious mango and dragon fruit that I am about to eat in a minute (the last one made me chuckle, but it is fun thinking of it)
The above is just an example, yours can be completely different. The important thing is, there are always things to be thankful for. Even if you think your life is in the crapper right now, or you’re ill, broke, or experiencing some other difficulty. Even if the difficulty seems insurmountable. There are always little things you can (and should!) be thankful for. And feeling gratitude for the simple things fills you with content and gives you the strength you need to conquer the difficulties in your life, so that there will eventually be more and more you will be thankful for.
Thank you for reading this.