Want to live a more joyful life filled with gratitude? Use this gratitude meditation to feel year-round joy! Plus four steps to increase your gratitude.
Are you here for the gratitude meditation? Meditate here.
When do we feel grateful? When there is abundance, and also when there is lack. When things are going right and we have much to be thankful for, it can be easy to feel gratitude. But also when we have experienced great loss or hardship, we find ourselves feeling grateful for our loved ones or having survived a big life challenge.
In those times, the loss of “things” isn’t as critical as still having the things that mean the most, like our very life, family, and friends. In between abundance and lack, we tend to take things for granted.
In spite of knowing the general value of gratitude, day-to-day life can sometimes give us little chance to slow down and appreciate all our blessings. Thankfully there are some easy ways to increase gratitude in our otherwise busy lives, one being gratitude meditation. But before we take a look at how you can easily make time for honoring and growing gratitude, let’s see what scientists are saying about gratitude.
Can gratitude really make you happier?
Think Thanksgiving and the main thing that comes to mind is families and friends! Everyone gathered around the table sharing what each is most grateful for in the past year and the general happiness felt by everyone present. But can being consciously grateful on a regular basis make you happier?
Harvard University says, “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.”
Gratitude on the Brain
In a study referenced on the Greater Good magazine website, participants were scanned using fMRI (measures and maps brain activity) while doing “pay it forward” activities motivated by gratitude. They found that when people felt more gratitude they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making.
They also observed those who wrote gratitude letters and found a similar activation in the medial prefrontal cortex. This effect was also found three months after the letter-writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain.
How amazing is that?!? Turns out that a gratitude practice can be more than just life-affirming!
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
What else can gratitude do for you? A LOT! Check it out.
- Improves sleep
- Enhances optimism
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases generosity
- Strengthens relationships
- Increases mental strength
- Reduces depressive symptoms
- Enhances empathy and compassion
- Reduces aggression
- And so much more…
Interestingly, the benefits of meditation are so similar to what gratitude does for us!