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How to Cultivate Gratitude

What are we thankful for? For many people in the United States, this is a question that only comes up once per year. That’s right, you guessed it: at Thanksgiving time. We gather with our families, prepare an elaborate meal, and sit down to dinner. Just before we start to eat, it’s customary to take a moment to mention some of the things that we’re thankful for.

Apart from this rare instance, though, it’s rather uncommon for us to talk about what things in our lives we’re grateful for on a daily basis. Instead, we tend to spend the vast majority of our time and energy focusing on the things that we don’t have. Rather than being grateful for our best friend, we find ourselves wishing we had a more active social life. Instead of being thankful for the job that we have, we’re always looking for a raise or a promotion. Learning to appreciate what we already have involves practicing mindfulness in a focused, deliberate way.

Gratitude and Mindfulness 

We can’t expect gratitude for life’s everyday miracles to simply develop on its own. Instead, it’s something that we must begin to cultivate with effort, focus, and attention. That’s where this free mindfulness exercise on gratitude comes in.

Here, you’ll be given the opportunity to reflect on your daily experience of gratitude. You’ll be asked to think back to your day, and to recount the moments when you experienced gratitude. You’ll also be asked to consider how you expressed that same feeling to other people, and what doors were opened by being thankful rather than complaining or striving unnecessarily. Lastly, you’ll pause to consider how these lessons can be carried forward into your everyday life from here on. We hope you enjoy and benefit from this free mindfulness exercise.

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