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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

This Thanksgiving Try the Mindful Gratitude Practice

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 22nd 2011

gratitudeGratitude is a word that has lost its punch in our culture. It’s almost become a cliché and for many there’s very little heart in the practice of gratitude. Thanksgiving is almost upon us and why not allow this to be a moment in time of setting an intention for bringing heart to the practice of being thankful. Bringing mindfulness to the practice of gratitude can help you stay connected to what really matters. Why?

There’s no denying it, we are living in difficult times. Consider this, as long as you are living there is more right with you than wrong with you.  In order for you to be living, this has to be the case. Do you have the miraculous ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch? 

Still, judgment will come in when you try and be grateful, you may say things around the table, but not really be connected to what you’re saying. I will be more of a rote experience with very little intention in it. This deflates the experience of Thanksgiving and you have the choice right now to change that.

Robert Emmons and Michael McCollough (2003) conducted a study a while back called Counting Blessings versus Burdens. He split up a few groups of people and had one group count 5 blessings per day, one group count 5 burdens per day and one group just write about neutral events. As you may have guessed, the ones who counted blessings, experienced less stress and more feelings associated with well being.

This Thanksgiving get in touch with your heart, what are you truly thankful for in this life? 

One way of doing this is just becoming present first, perhaps settling your attention on your breath or body for a minute just noticing the sensations that are there.

Then drop the question into your mind like you might a pebble in a still lake, “What am I thankful for?” and just see what arises without trying to search for any particular thing. 

If you have a moment, try this out right now without any expectations and see what happens.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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