7 Day Gratitude Journey
Let’s get our Gratitude on! 7 Days of meditations and journaling exercises to promote a new underlying frame of mind to every aspect of your life 🙂 Start to naturally see the pleasant, the positive, the kind, and the warm in every aspect of your day.
Each day, listen to the meditation. Afterwards, spend time on the journaling exercise. The more time you give yourself to journal, the more value you will receive from it 😉 I recommend setting a timer for 15 minutes after the meditation is over to do nothing else but write and contemplate on the journaling practice that day.
Here’s a little secret as well… *leaning over to whisper into your ear* “This is really a 21 Day Gratitude Journey.” To allow the affects of this practice to enter into your daily life and become a more natural, innate, aspect of your thought and behaviour – repeat this journey three times and continue the daily gratitude journal offered on Day 1 <3
If you are new to meditating, I highly encourage you to go through the 30 Day Meditation Journey before continuing to other Meditation Journeys. A strong foundation of mindfulness meditation promotes even greater benefits from every other form of meditation :
Why Is Gratitude Important?
Our minds naturally have a more attuned focus on the negative around us.
Have you felt the incredible hold a negative comment has on your mind? How many positive comments does it take to undo the mental distress of a single negative comment? Studies have shown that it takes 5 positive comments to undo the distress caused by 1 negative comment (how many negative comments are being told to yourself just within your own mind?).
This is part of our evolutionary biology. The negative could kill us, the positive is just nice. However, today we live much differently than the Homosapien and Neanderthal counterparts we stem from. In practicing Gratitude daily, we are helping to train our minds to also focus on the positive. And with the positive, we bring thanks and appreciation.
Over time you will begin to notice a shift in your perception of situations – a natural awareness of noticing good fortune, good luck, positive outcomes, and feeling thankful for the pleasantries that come your way. Over time this feeling of gratitude will become more and more granular.
I have a fun example of this when I started keeping a Gratitude Journal every morning upon waking up and every evening before sleep. I started to notice nice things happening around me or about me or about others with purposeful awareness (maybe before it would be a very subtle passing thought of “oh, that’s nice”, but now it is with more intention “I am thankful for x”). One example being – I was talking with a friend of mine at a cafe and he begins complaining about how his mustache hairs are growing in random directions. “Oh,” I think to myself, “I never granted it much thought. I am very lucky to have my mustache growing all in the same downward direction.” This level and many greater levels of granularity in gratitude becomes possible when we train our minds to bring awareness to it through purposeful practice (like meditation and journaling) <3
Day 1 - Everyday
We can find things to be grateful for everyday! Whether they are general items like the warmth of the sun or hugging my parents. Or very specific items like “I passed my test today,” or “My friend picked me up from the airport.” Noticing several of these items everyday and throughout our day helps to remind us of the wonderful things always present around us.
Start a gratitude journal! Not just for today – make this a daily routine for the rest of your life. From this practice you will begin to notice a shift in perspective over time. Finding yourself becoming aware of more positive aspects in your life. You will begin to notice more positive actions from friends and families. You’ll find blessings in the very subtle components of life 😀
– Every Morning (FIRST thing you do after waking up) –
- Write down 3 Grateful items. Write these in a positive language – instead of “I’m grateful it is not raining,” we can say “I’m grateful it is dry today.” (challenge yourself by making them unique items every day of the week – in this way, you will have 21 different things to be grateful for at the end of every week)
- Write down 3 things that will make today great. (these are things in your control – ex. “I will call my best friend,” “I will journal,” “I’ll take time to really enjoy my coffee.” instead of “If it doesn’t rain today it would be great,” “Everything going smoothly at the meeting today.”)
– Every Night (LAST thing you do before falling asleep) –
- Write down 3 things that made today awesome.
- Think of one situation from today and answer:
– What went well?
– What needs work?
– How can I improve next time?(
Day 2 - Simple
Reminding ourselves not to take anything for granted. Not even the small things that are ever present. Breath, Heartbeat, You Exist, You are Human, Hands and Fingers, Five Senses, We are capable of Meditating, The Beauty of the Earth, The value in such a diversity of cultures, those we love, electricity, internet, we don’t need to farm for our food, etc., etc.
After the meditation, write down a list: What have you been taking for granted?
Remind yourself that these are gifts and nothing is owed to you.
Remind yourself to appreciate the seemingly small, simple, given/granted blessings in your life.
Day 3 - Remember
Here we will use a mindfulness technique known as 5-4-3-2-1. It can be used to center yourself in the present moment, but here we will use it to bring a wonderful memory from the past into the present. Practicing bringing the positive feelings from that moment into our bodies in this moment. Helping us to find greater connection to the body – going from thought to feeling, mind to body.
Take a moment after the meditation to write about the memory that came to mind.
– What was happening at the time?
– Who were you with?
– How did you feel?
– What emotions became present?
– How did the emotions feel as sensations in the body?
Day 4 - People
Remember those who have touched your life. Acknowledge the people who have helped you along your path.
Who has helped you in times of need? Who is there for you to share in your joys?
After this meditation, write a Thank You letter to someone you thought of during this meditation, dead or alive. It is not necessary, but I encourage you to find the courage to share this with that person if they are alive – either by reading it to them or giving it to them.
Day 5 - Death
When we are told about death, we know that it exists. We know that everyone dies. We’ve all had someone in our life pass away. But if we are honest with ourselves, it is never allow to truly seep into the fabric of our being. Death still stands outside of us. Something that happens to other things and other people, but not to me. Death still feels far away to most of us.
Allow yourself to acknowledge death. Let death step up to your front porch. Open your door and invite death in.
Have some tea with death today.
After the meditation, write about how you would live differently knowing that death is imminent.
Then imagine that you are told, “You have one year left to live on this Earth.” What would you be doing differently if you knew you would be dead in one year? 6 months? 1 month? 1 week? Today?
How might this shift the priorities in your life?
Day 6 - Challenge
When it comes to challenges, obstacles, and difficulties faced in our lives – the ancient stoic philosophers of Greece and Rome have wise words to share. Acknowledging the value of challenges to show us our strengths, to act as our training to strengthen in character and mind, to show us the path we must take for growth.
“Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our own inner resources. The trails we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths.” – Epictetus
“The impediment to action, advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
“The true man is revealed in difficult times. So when trouble comes, think of yourself as a wrestler whom God, like a trainer, has paired with a tough young buck. For what purpose? To turn you into Olympic-class material.” – Epictetus
After the meditation, think of a specific challenge you have overcome in your life (either one from the meditation or a new one that comes to mind). Journal about that challenge and how you made your way through it. Note how you have experienced growth by going through this challenge. How has it made you stronger, more compassionate, more grateful, more resolved, more confident, strengthened relationships, etc.?
What are some beneficial consequences stemming from this event?
Day 7 - Self
For some, this is one of the most difficult places to find gratitude – gratitude for one’s self. Take a moment now to go inwards, find those pieces of you that feel good. Find the light that shines for others and allow it to shine for you. When we can be truly accepting, loving, and respecting of ourselves, we are able to bring more joyful energy to all that is around us.
Set the intention for yourself to notice positive things about you. Say to yourself, “I like myself. I have many positive characteristics. I am capable of many wonderful things. People are happy to be around me.”
Throughout the day today, notice when one of these affirmations are confirmed. Take a moment to record it in a notebook or on your phone. At the end of the day look at your notes. Think back through the day, what more can be added? I guarantee there is at least one, shoot for added three more to your list 😉