This week many of us are preparing to give thanks with family and friends. In the unofficial start of the holiday season we begin baking, planning, and gathering with family and friends. There is something warm and lovely about the buzz of sharing our homes, gift-giving, and cooking for those we love. Could we make that warm feeling a part of everyday versus one time a year?
Use this week as an opportunity to incorporate gratitude or giving thanks into your daily mindfulness practice. Bringing mindfulness to everyday life involves a subtler component of consciousness. It is living each moment with intention; responding versus reacting to life. For example, how often do you say “thank you” simply out of habit? It is still a kind thing to do, but it is so much more meaningful when said mindfully.
To mindfully practice gratitude in you daily life, try these:
- When saying “thank you” to someone (even a stranger) look them in the eyes.
- Begin each day with a simple gratitude practice of listing 5 things you are grateful for. These could be as simple as your favorite bowl of cereal.
- End each day with a metta or loving kindness meditation. Try this one from Greater Good.
- When you tell someone you appreciate them include why you do. For example, “I appreciate our friendship so much because you make me laugh and I trust you.”
- Express gratitude towards yourself. You work hard. Your body is constantly at work. You do the best you can. Be sure to give thanks for that too.
Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself. Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice. Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.” Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday. May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.