Gratitude in Difficult Times

When we make it a point to practice gratitude, it can change our perspective, interrupt the downward spiral of negativity, and make us happier.

Duration: 08:24
Difficulty: easy

During extraordinarily challenging times like this coronavirus pandemic, we can become overwhelmed and lose sight of hope. But even in the most difficult of circumstances, our mind is a powerful tool. When we make it a habit to focus on things we’re grateful for, it can transform our entire outlook and even ease depression.

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Hello, my name is Chris Saranchock. Welcome to a HelpGuide meditation on gratitude and how it can help you through even the most difficult of times.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable position. Sitting on either a chair or cushion.

Imagine a string connected to the top of your head, lengthening the spine, pulling it up straight and tall. Feet firmly planted on the ground. Your arms resting to your sides.

Now close your eyes and turn your attention to the breath. Simply being aware of the fact that you’re breathing.

(time for breathing)

There’s no need to force anything. All you have to do is pay attention. Feeling the natural rhythm as you inhale and exhale.

(brief pause)

Now take a moment to focus on where you feel your breath most strongly. It might be your nostrils… your airway… your chest… your belly…

That’s going to be your anchor today. The place you return to if your mind starts to wander.

(time for breathing)

Now as you breathe, check in with your body and what you may have brought with you today. Any physical sensations… Any strong emotions or feelings… Or maybe nothing at all.

Just take a moment to sit with whatever’s there. Without labeling it good or bad… pleasant or unpleasant. Just a gentle curiosity. No judgment.

(time for breathing)

Now let’s return our focus to the breath. Breathing in and out… allowing yourself to relax… to let go of any tension or stress on each exhale…

Soften your face… Relax your jaw… Let your shoulders drop… Allow yourself to sink deeper into your chair or cushion…

(time for breathing)

Continue to breathe. In… and out… Using your breath to stay in this moment… Fully present and aware…

(time for breathing)

If your mind wanders… that’s okay… It’s a normal part of the process… Simply note what you’re thinking—without judging it good or bad—and then gently return to your breath, anchoring you in the present moment…

(time for breathing)

Most of us have experienced massive changes to our lives due to the coronavirus pandemic. From health anxiety to financial stress. . . social isolation to grief over what we’ve lost. . . it can all seem overwhelming. And that can lead to depression.

But even in the most difficult of circumstances, our mind is a powerful tool. When we make it a habit to focus on things we’re grateful for, it can transform our entire outlook and even ease depression.

It’s not always easy to feel appreciation. But if we’re mindful, we can always find something. It can be as simple as feeling grateful for the breeze on your face or the way the sun shimmers through the trees or feels warm on your skin…

When you’re present for even the smallest moments of beauty and joy, it can have a profound impact on your perspective. It shifts your attention to what you have, rather than what you lack. And it can be a powerful antidote to feelings of depression and hopelessness.

So as we close, take a moment to think about something you’re grateful for.

(brief pause)

Continue to breathe in and out. Experiencing the warm feeling of appreciation wash over you.

(time for breathing)

As the poet Rumi said, “Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.”

Now, when you’re ready, come back to the room and open your eyes. And as you go about your day, if you start to find yourself getting caught up in negativity, come back to this simple practice of gratitude.