Mindfulness Week 8

Gratitude at the end of the day

Exercise:  At the end of the day, write a list of at least five things that happened during the day that you are grateful for.  At the end of the week, read it out loud to a friend, partner, or mindfulness companion.

Reminders:  Keep a notepad and pencil or pen beside your bed or on your pillow.  When you get into bed at night, write your list before you lie down and go to sleep.

Discoveries:

When people first do this practice, they often think that they will have trouble making a list of at least five things they are grateful for.  However, they are surprised to find that when they start, the list often grows longer.  It is as if a long-neglected faucet were turned on, and the flow doesn’t shut off.  During the day you may find yourself taking mental notes of “things to add to the list.”  This encourages a lovely transformation into a mind-state of ongoing gratitude.

Research conducted by Lywbomirsky shows that 40 percent of happiness is determined by our intentional activities.  People who keep a daily “gratitude journal” or who regularly express gratitude to people who have been kind to them show a significant increase in happiness and decrease in depression.

How to Train a Wild Elephant, Jan Chozen Bays, pp. 46-47.

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