Gratitude - The First Cousin of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has received a lot of attention recently for its ability to positively change your brain. A related practice, Gratitude has also been shown to produce positive changes. In particular, people who regularly practice gratitude experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, work, academics, health, satisfaction, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis.

The practice of gratitude is relatively simple. Every day you take a couple of minutes for yourself and think about a few things that you are genuinely grateful for. They can be little things like your cup of tea, or big things like a great experience with family or friends. What's important is to really give yourself time to feel the appreciation for the things you're noting. To really soak it in.

It's this process of letting your head and your heart really savor these things that is literally training your brain to see more of the good things in life. It's creating and reinforcing such positive neural pathways.

In many ways the practice of gratitude is like the first cousin of mindfulness. You're taking a moment to put your full attention on something the way you might when using your body or breath in mindfulness meditation. In gratitude, you're then adding the ingredient of really experiencing the appreciation of the things you're greatful for. It's like mindfulness meets love!