It appears that the way people perceive the world is much more important to happiness
than objective circumstances.
– Psychologist Ed Diener, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth

There are numerous benefits that we derive from cultivation of a “gratitude attitude.”  Among them are increased optimism, energy to spare, stronger connections to other people, and better at night!  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, however, it’s easy to lose track of the things we appreciate.  Gratitude meditation intentionally brings this process into our awareness so we can get the most from our daily blessings.

This exercise is adapted from one created by psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough.

Instructions:

  • Some time in the middle of your work day, think about ONE ITEM (person, event, experience, or thing) for which you are grateful.
  • Take a few minutes to meditate on the gift you feel you received because of that item.
  • Use a phrase like, “I appreciate __fill-in-the-blank__ because __fill-in-the-blank__.”  List the person, event, experience or thing for which you are grateful in the first blank.  Provide the reason why it matters to you in the second blank space.  For instance, every Friday I tell myself how grateful I am for curbside garbage pick-up for the convenience it offers.  That’s because my husband and I had to collect and manage our own refuse when we lived in South Dakota… and I vowed I would appreciate the convenience of curbside pick-up for the rest of my life if it ever occurred again!
  • Consider ONE MORE ITEM right before the end your work day, meditating on the gift you felt present in that person, event, experience or thing.
  • Before going to sleep, bring these two items into your conscious awareness one more time… and smile.
© Maria Hunt and Avila University
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