Gratitude Meditation – Successful Ways to Reflect and Grow

Gratitude meditation is a great and positive way to practice gratitude in your daily life.  There are multiple ways to practice meditation around gratitude, and it can really open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds us daily.

Gratitude meditation is the act of focusing and reflecting upon the things we are grateful for in our lives.  This practice has many benefits from improved mental health to stronger relationships with others, as well as better physical health.

What are the things in your life you are grateful for?  When was the last time you soaked in the colors of the sunset or the smell of fresh-baked cookies and really focused on how happy you felt?

What Is Gratitude Meditation?

Grateful - Gratitude Meditation - Gone Minimal

Let’s start with gratitude.  This is the act of being thankful towards others and returning that kindness in the same form or another.  Meditation is the act of focusing your attention on one thing and tuning everything else out.  Gratitude meditation is focusing on and reflecting upon everything in our lives we are grateful for during a quiet state.

Gratitude meditation is a mindful practice of looking within ourselves and expressing what we are thankful for. It is a personal experience of acknowledgment and appreciation. By practicing gratitude meditation, we cultivate positivity, increasing happiness and quality of life.

Benefits of Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude meditation can bring you so much more than peace-it can change your outlook on life.  Meditation in itself can help quiet your mind, release tension, lower blood pressure, and bring calm.  When you practice gratitude meditation, you can reap some of the following benefits:

  • Stronger relationships
  • Improved mental health
  • More happiness
  • Better health
  • Less stress
  • More positivity
  • Increased emotional intelligence
  • Living more intentionally

When you practice gratitude meditation, you can become more positive and therefore attract more positive people in your life.  When you set the example of positivity for others, you become greatly influential. 

Examples of Gratitude

So what is gratitude, anyways?  Let’s look at some examples:

  • I’m grateful my husband cooks for our family.
  • I appreciate my teenagers for keeping their rooms (somewhat) clean.
  • I’m thankful for my work.
  • I’m grateful for our home and safe neighborhood.
  • I appreciate my mother’s resilience and independence-she taught me well.
  • I’m thankful I can work from home.
  • I’m grateful for my spouse’s support.

It’s easy to overlook the day-to-day things that seem small and insignificant-but when you consider the players involved (i.e. the people who collect your trash) it becomes so much more meaningful.

Family and Friends on the beach - Gratitude Meditation - Gone Minimal
Family and Friends on the beach

How to Practice Gratitude Meditation

  1. Meditation begins with setting aside time and finding a quiet place.  It can be any place you’re comfortable, but it works best if there are minimal distractions like your smartphone or TV. 

2. Then start paying attention to your senses and what you’re feeling.  What do you smell/taste/hear/or see?  It doesn’t have to be complex things, it could just be your dog sleeping at your feet or the sun rising in your backyard.  How does this make you feel?

3. Take note of your breathing-slow it down and be present in the moment.  Relax your shoulders, sit back in your chair, place your hand on your chest and feel your chest rise and fall with each breath.  Keep it slow, deep, and steady.

4. Think about what you are grateful for next.  Is it your dog, your morning coffee, the sunrise?  It’s whatever is present in that moment-focus on it intently and be present. 

5. Now use your senses with these things you are grateful for-how does your coffee smell?  What does your dog feel like?  Take in the beautiful colors of the sunrise and surrounding clouds.

6. Then think about your gratitude for these things.  Why are you grateful for them?  What have they brought to your life?  Let them fill your heart with happiness and gratitude, and take that with you for the rest of your day.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here is a video with a gratitude meditation and related affirmations:

Types of Gratitude Meditation

Meditation can be practiced in so many ways. It can be deeply personal, tied into things we believe in, or feel, or want to feel connected with that might help us connect with ourselves. Let’s explore some of the more popular types of gratitude meditation.

Guided Gratitude Meditation

Guided Gratitude Meditation can be done through the assistance of a person-whether in person or through video/audio.  A narrator or guide will give you directions on what to do, what to focus on, and takes the pressure off of you to help you through a gratitude meditation session.  A great resource when you’re busy or stressed!

Morning Gratitude Meditation

Morning Gratitude Meditation is a method to help you wake up and prepare for the day.  It can boost your energy, inspire you, and give you the strength to accomplish what you need to that day.  It’s much better than looking at your smartphone upon waking!

Evening Gratitude Meditation

Evening Gratitude Meditation is a method to help you wind down from your day and prepare for bedtime.  It can help you reflect upon your day and the positive things that happened to help you find gratitude.  Also much better than scrolling through your social media feed in bed!

Gratitude Meditation Music

Gratitude Meditation Music is calm, soothing music that can help you relax and focus on your gratitude meditation.  There are many options out there, you just have to find what you like and what inspires you or helps you reflect.

Thankful for nature - Gratitude Meditation - Gone Minimal
Thankful for nature

Gratitude Walking Meditation

Gratitude Walking Meditation is moving meditation through walking, usually through nature or someplace outside.  This brings you closer to nature and helps you focus on your gratitude, plus it’s great for your cardiovascular health.

Gratitude Tree Meditation

Gratitude Tree Meditation is a mindfulness drawing activity that is good for adults and children.  With this activity you can make note of the things you’re grateful for each day, write them down on paper leaves, and create a paper tree that is beautiful and personal to you or your child.  It’s a great reminder to practice gratitude for anyone.

Gratitude Meditation Durations

10 Minute Gratitude Meditation is the optimal period for daily meditation each day.  Spend a full minute focusing on breathing, another on focusing on your thoughts, and another on thinking about how you feel.  Then spend two to three minutes thinking about what you’re grateful for in your life, visualizing those things and reflecting on your memories of those things. 

Take another minute to think about how you feel at this point.  Then spend a minute or two thinking about how you can practice gratitude throughout your day.  For the final minute, focus on your breathing again and on how the whole experience has made you feel.  Finally, open your eyes and stretch.

5 Minute Gratitude Meditation is much like the 10 minute, but in half the time.  You’ll spend a minute on each piece: breathing, focusing on thoughts, identifying what you’re grateful for, reflecting on memories, then preparing to finish with breathing and feelings.

3 Minute Gratitude Meditation is great for any time of day and can be helpful just like longer meditation practices.  Spend time breathing, focusing, being grateful and reflecting in preparation for whatever comes next. Over time, one will likely want to practice even longer.

2 Minute Gratitude Meditation is perfect for starting a busy day.  It’s enough to energize, focus, and set the tone for your day. Even though it’s brief, the routine and impacts of the meditative practice can be very rewarding. This is a great personal “check-in” during the day, or for folks just beginning with meditation and getting a feel for it.

Breathe - Gratitude Meditation - Gone Minimal

Gratitude Meditation Script

Find a quiet, comfortable spot.  Sit down and rest your hands on your knees.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  Slow, deep, easy breaths.  Listen only to your breathing.

Take the thoughts and worries in your mind and let them go.  Breathe them out with each focused breath.

Think about one thing you’re grateful for.  Focus on that one thing.  Think about how that makes you feel.  Focus on why you’re grateful for that thing.  Think of your fondest memory with that thing.  Think of your feelings with that memory.  Focus on that feeling and breathe it in.

Now take that feeling and think about your day.  Focus on sharing that feeling with others around you.  Think about who you will encounter today.  Think about why you’re grateful for them.  Focus on that and breathe it in.

Focus on your breathing again.  Start listening to the sounds around you.  Slow, deep, easy breaths.  You have so much to be grateful for.  Breathe it in.  Breathe out any negative thoughts, stress, or worries.  Slowly open your eyes and look around you.  Soak in this moment and everything around you.  Now stretch and take on your day!

Why Is Gratitude so Powerful?

Gratitude is a powerful thing because it recognizes people, places, events, and things that bring us joy or make our lives easier.  It helps you acknowledge good and positive things, which has many benefits not just for you-but for those around you! 

When we practice gratitude, we decrease our stress levels, we become more positive, we become more resilient to adversity, and we can even make others feel good.  This is powerful because it can spread like crazy!

Grateful for coffee - Gratitude Meditation - Gone Minimal
Grateful for coffee!

Examples of Gratitude from Real People

I asked 5 family and/or friends what top 4 things in life they are most grateful for. This is that they shared and what I learned from the poll:

Things To Be Grateful ForTally of Family/Friends
Working from home4
Supportive spouse and family5
My health3
Good weather/climate4
My children4
My pets3

Other Resources:

Our busy lives can sometimes distract us from the little things that we tend to take for granted.  When we practice gratitude meditation, we can better identify the things and people that bring us joy, make us feel good, and even those that help us get through difficult times.

Taking the time to focus on our senses, being present in the moment, and noticing even those little things can help us practice gratitude and bring joy to others.

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