10-minute guided practice to promote resilience by using imagery of heart-centered gratitude.
Gratitude practice can be used to promote a positive mood, hope, and resilience. As we experience positive emotions such as gratitude, loving-kindness, and compassion, our awareness broadens and our creativity and problem-solving capacities blossom, and we become more effective in whatever we choose to do.
1. To begin, find a safe, quiet place where you know you will not be disturbed. Please don’t listen to this recording while you are driving.
2. We will keep track of time for you, and ring a gentle chime when 10 minutes have elapsed [start timer].
3. Sit upright in a comfortable, stable position where you feel fully supported, and your back, neck, and head are straight. Or lie down on your back in a comfortable place, with some support under your knees. Make sure you’ll be warm enough. You might want to get a sweater or blanket if the room is cool. Loosen any restrictive clothing that would prevent you from breathing comfortably.
4. Allow your eyes to gently close or maintain a soft focus, gazing 6-12 feet in front of you.
5. Take a slow, deep breath to bring yourself to the present moment and begin the process of feeling more peaceful and centered. Breathe into the belly so it expands as you breathe in and gets smaller as you breathe out.
6. Now, take a minute or two to mentally scan your body for any areas where there is tightness, tension, or soreness and breathe your warm, oxygen-filled breath into that area; as you breathe out, let the tension release, breathing it out.
7. Now, notice any worries, fear, anger, irritation, jealousy, or judgment. Just breathe into those emotions, noting them, and allowing them to flow out as you breathe out. Another breath into any uncomfortable emotions, and breathing out, releasing them [5 seconds].
8. Now any thoughts of memories, plans, associations, anything other than being here, breathing, just breathe into those thoughts, and as you breathe out, allow the thoughts to flow out with the breath [5 seconds].
9. Now that our bodies, emotions, and thoughts are a little clearer, a bit more spacious and open, we can begin to focus on the events, experiences, people, pets, or possessions for which we feel grateful [5 seconds].
10. First, recall that if you are listening to this recording, you already have several marvelous gifts:
Now think about all the things we have today that make our lives easier and more comfortable than they were for our great-grandparents.
Now, take a moment to reflect on all the thousands of people who have worked hard, some without knowing you at all, to make your life easier or more pleasant.
And most of these are people you have never met or barely know.
11. Now, consider the people and pets you know who enrich your life, those who smile at you and cheer you on, those family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and peers, those ancestors who worked so you could live well, those friends who support you when you need a shoulder or a hand [5 seconds].
12. Now, take a moment to reflect on your own reasons for feeling grateful in this moment [15 seconds].
13. There is so much to feel grateful for in this moment now [10 seconds]. Gratitude fills our hearts and minds, uplifting our spirit [10 seconds].
14. When you finish [CHIME], you can notice the feeling of your body and breath in this place. Rest quietly for several minutes, noticing how you feel throughout your body, emotions, and thoughts compared with before you started. No judging, just noticing. Gently stretch your hands and arms, feet and legs. If you choose to stand, do so slowly. With practice, you can find yourself feeling grateful easily, wherever you are. You may choose to keep a journal, noting three to five things each day for which you feel particularly grateful. You can draw on the strength of this gratitude whenever you wish.
15. Thank you for practicing this guided heart-centered meditation to promote a sense of gratitude.
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