3 Mindfulness Exercises for Cultivating Gratitude

Life is hard, no doubt about it. It can sometimes feel like the stress of managing your relationships, your finances, your health & everything else on your plate is never-ending. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I remind myself to fall back on my gratitude practice. The simple act of mindfully taking a moment to acknowledge the positive in my life even when I feel like I’m drowning in the negative always provides some much needed perspective. 

Not sure how to leave the negative behind? Try these 3 mindfulness exercises!

1. A Photo a Day

Humans are visual creatures. Take some time today (& every day, if it helps!) to look at the world through a different perspective. Can you capture a moment of stillness? Of natural beauty? Of brilliant color? This is one of my favorite mindfulness exercises to do when I’m on a walk because I’m forced to get out of my head, look up away from my feet & truly take in the surrounding scenery. Plus, then you have the photo to remind you of your gratitude practice the next time you’re struggling with any negative feelings! I always change my iPhone screensaver when I take a happy little photo because it makes me smile every time I unlock my phone & reminds me to take a moment to appreciate my life!


2. Create a Vision Board

Channel your inner child & break out the glue sticks & safety scissors! Often the best way to cultivate gratitude is to identify what in your life (no matter how small) is currently bringing you happiness. Do you love feeling the sun on your face every day? Grab a travel magazine & get snipping! Or maybe you’re a foodie who loves trying out new recipes? Or a yogi who is grateful for all your body can do? There are magazines for everything these days! You can also always search for specific images & print them from your computer. I put my vision board on the front of my planner so that I would see it every day & be able to take it with me, but you can also paste your images onto a poster board or pin them onto a cork board or even tape them onto your mirror! Anywhere works, as long as you’ll see them regularly. 

3. Connect with Your Desires

You know you don’t want to feel stressed, anxious, angry, unhappy, etc., but what DO you want to feel? Take a moment to write down three positive feelings to replace any negative feelings that might crop up throughout your day. Start each statement with ‘I am’ & actively plan out how you’re going to practice feeling this way! For me, thinking about HOW I’m going to be strong versus just saying ‘I am strong’ with no plan of action is the key to more mindfully taking control of my feelings. Describing how you’re going to practice feeling a certain way will help you to feel more in control of your emotions & ready to face anything!