Growing Your Gratitude, Breath By Breath

When you send good vibes to others, you create connection, as well as generate thankfulness in yourself. That’s the theory behind this (modified) Breath of Connection meditation taught by psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. You can stay with each part of this exercise for one breath, or repeat it for many breaths–meaning, if you take the shorter route, you can actually up your GQ (Gratitude Quotient) in less than a minute.

1. Find a quiet place to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Take a few minutes to settle your mind.

2. Eyes closed, bring to mind a person who is nearby. As you inhale, take in that person’s physical presence. As you exhale, send appreciation.

3. Bring to mind a person who is close to your heart, but far away. As you inhale, bring that person to mind. As you exhale, send love and support.

4. Bring to mind an ancestor or someone whose very life has made your present experience possible. As you inhale, take in the meaning of that person’s life, and as you exhale, send gratitude.

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5. Bring to mind all those who will come after you. As you inhale, experience the joy of your own life. As you exhale, send those future generations the best of your life, and hope for the future.

6. On your last inhale, concentrate on the breath and sensations of your own body. As you exhale, thank yourself for taking care of yourself and the part of the world on which you have some influence.

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