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Deep Dive: Gratitude, Practicing Mindfulness Week Three

Over the past year, while we have all been re-evaluating our daily routines and practices, I have found that more of my focus has not only landed on the practice of gratitude, but also on daily meditation. About a month and a half ago, I decided that I would do a meditation practice every morning to see that the results might be for my mental health, my focus and just my overall wellbeing throughout the day.

My morning meditation has the power to give the kick in the butt I need to get focused and honed in for the day ahead. I have found that the power of visualization makes me more aware of my body’s energies and has the ability to put me in an elevated state, where I can focus on empowerment, my own ambitions and drive for the future or, my favourite option, on gratitude. It is an immensely powerful tool, one I use constantly, not just to help steer the path in the right direction, but also to affirm what it is I truly need. 

There is an awareness that comes with the feeling of gratefulness that is unlike anything I have ever felt or imagined. This section provides tips and research on mindfulness and the potential of meditation practices or focused thoughts. While it is not the easiest practice to start (especially if you are someone who experiences overthinking, anxiety or negative self-talk), I believe that it is worth exploring. I hope that you will give it a try, if you have not already.

-Zach

We have mentioned throughout our previous parts that showing mindfulness can help in your gratitude practice. But what is mindfulness exactly? There are two parts to being mindful: being present in the moment without focusing on thoughts outside of that space and acknowledging your thoughts in any particular moment without judgement.

If you are someone who has studied meditation or yoga, then you likely know something about the practice of mindfulness. Here is a video from Happify that tells a short allegory that explains the power of being mindful:

The most common way of practicing mindfulness is through meditation. Mindful meditation asks that you take some time – it can be done in just a couple of minutes or for an hour – to focus your thoughts only on the present moment. 

Here is a short video from an Australian Broadcast Company Science documentary on meditation by Dr. Graham Phillips, who embarked on a two-month experiment of meditation to see what impacts it would have on his life:

Most meditation practitioners recommend starting your practice with a simple breathing exercise. Here is a sample of what that looks like and we encourage you to try it for yourself.

  1. Set a timer for two minutes.
  2. Close your eyes 
  3. Inhale to a count of 5.
  4. When you feel an outside thought come into your mind, one that tries to take the place of your concentration on your breath, take a moment to recognize it. Try to place where the thought came from and why it came into your mind at this moment.  
  5. Bring that feeling into a sphere close to your heart and consolidate it.
  6. Hold the breath for a count of 5.
  7. Exhale for a count of 5 while releasing the sphere containing that thought into the universe to be purified.
  8. Continue this practice until your timer goes off.

Mindfulness is establishing a moment-to-moment awareness of not only your thoughts and current situation, but also your emotions, body and your surroundings. Mindfulness asks that you approach this moment with openness and without judgement and take the time to explore and discover. 

Practicing mindfulness and using techniques like the above meditation have been linked to increased sustained happiness and feelings of gratitude while it releases negative feelings like fear, anxiety and jealousy. Taking some dedicated time to practice mindfulness daily will help strengthen your skill for managing your own thoughts and will become something you inevitably do more and more throughout your day.

While you may wish to change elements of your present moment, this is a time to acknowledge all that you’re feeling and experiencing and take from it what you wish, leaving the rest behind in the past.

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Practicing gratitude isn’t just about acknowledging all of the things you see as positives in your life.  Read more >

Our Gratitude tote bag design is a reminder to always find the light, even in the darkest of hours.  Shop >

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