A Practice for Cultivating Moment-to-Moment Gratitude

This 12-minute body scan and breath awareness practice integrates relaxation, mindfulness, and gratitude. Cultivating the ability to notice what arises in our field of awareness—pleasant or unpleasant—with sustained attention.

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The practice of mindfulness involves paying attention, and noticing whatever arises in your field of awareness, moment to moment. It can be helpful to steady your mind and body, so that you’re able to attend to and sustain your attention on whatever arises, which at times can be unpleasant and can pull you away from your engaged attentiveness to the moment as it is.

The practice of mindfulness involves paying attention, and noticing whatever arises in your field of awareness, moment to moment.

In this 12-minute relaxation, mindfulness, and gratitude practice, we’ll begin by deliberately engaging in a practice of the breath that may offer a little bit more stability and tranquility for when we transition to a more traditional mindfulness practice. For example, when focusing our attention on an object like the breath and when noticing our mind wandering from that object, we can gently return or remember the breath, and we’re able to do so with a little bit more engaged attentiveness and sustained capacity to stay with the object of our attention.

Guided Body Scan and Breath Awareness Practice

  • 12:36
  1. Assume a posture that is upright and stable. Become aware of your posture as you lower or close your eyes, whichever you prefer, and bring your attention to the body sitting, in this moment, as you breathe. 
  2. Be aware of the sensations of your body. Be aware of your body making contact with the chair, or the cushion beneath you, of the sensations of where your feet may meet the ground, of your hands resting one in the other, or on your lap. Rest your attention on the sensations of your body, of your body breathing. 
  3. Engage in a series of slower, deeper breaths than you may normally take. Just a little slower, just a little deeper, as you breathe in, and out, in, and out, breathing in, and breathing out. Be aware of the breaths you’re taking in this deliberate manner, for this too is a mindfulness practice. We are aware of the breath that flows in and out, as we feel and sense the breath that flows in and out. 
  4. Allow your breath to resume its natural rhythm, whatever that may be in this moment. Observe and notice your breath that naturally arises. As you follow your breath, allow this moment to be as it is. Rest your attention on the sensations of the breath, and when you notice from time to time that your mind has wandered in that moment of waking up out of forgetfulness, gently return your attention to your breath, your precious breath. Breathing in and breathing out, aware of breathing in and aware of breathing out. Remember your breath. The mind can move in a thousand directions, but there is only this moment, this breath. 
  5. Expand your field of awareness around your breath and around your body. Bring to mind someone for whom you feel very grateful. Someone who has been good to you. Someone who has been thoughtful and kind, and there for you when you’ve needed them. As you bring to mind a sense of this person, as you hold them in your mind and in your heart in whatever way feels right, offer them an expression of your gratitude. 
  6. Bring your attention back to the breath. As you breathe, allow your sense of this person to recede into the background of awareness, as you draw your attention in to the body and to the breath. Be aware of the in-breath and aware of the out-breath. When you’re ready in the next moment or two, with an awareness of doing so, lift your gaze and open your eyes