Gratitude Meditation Could Boost Your Happiness (& Your Work Efficiency)

gratitude-meditation: woman at a desk meditating
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We think of meditation as a way to relax, get to sleep or even just breathe better, but were you aware that meditation could be a benefit to you professionally? PureWow staffers discovered this recently when they gathered in downtown Manhattan to kick off am offsite session where writers and editors from across the country gathered to brainstorm and team-build. In order to get everyone gathered to shhhh and be still, we started the day with a 20-minute guided meditation by a representative from wellness center The Well. During the sesh, which included deep breathing, lowered eyes and each participant mentally listing a life element they are grateful for, we giggled and fidgeted a bit at first, and then, by the end, opened our eyes energized, focused and ready to work as a team. Editorial assistant Delia Curtis marveled at how “we all came in doing our own thing, but now we’re all together,” while Editor-in-chief Jillian Quint—an admittedly non-meditation type person—said it made her appreciate “those ‘we’ moments” with our staff.

But…why? Here’s a deeper look at how gratitude meditation can boost your happiness and even team spirit (even if the team is just you, entrepreneurial girl boss).

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Meet the Expert

Neeti Narula is advisor of Mindful Movement at The Well, a wellness center headquartered in New York City that offers mind, body and spirit-based wellness services. She is a certified yoga instructor, contributor to Yoga Journal and ambassador for Manduka Yoga.

First off, what even is gratitude meditation?

“Gratitude meditation is a practice of bringing our awareness to things we are grateful for in our lives,” says Narula. “Pausing to notice what we’re grateful for can help us recognize how much more we have than we tend to realize. When we stop to notice all we have rather than what we don’t have, it creates a stronger sense of “I am” instead of “I want.”

That’s nice, but how does it help in getting sh*t done, individually or as a team?

A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports concluded that the effect of gratitude meditation on an individual’s mental well-being is positive and significant., and indicates that it may be a means of improving both emotion regulation and self-motivation by modulating resting-state functional connectivity in emotion and motivation-related brain regions. (Functional connectivity is how scientists refer to different sections of the brain working together.) In other words, you’re able to harness more parts of your brain in constructive ways after a gratitude meditation.

What’s especially interesting here is that the special sauce is the gratitude—another study reported that gratitude app users during the pandemic reported less anxiety, depression and stress than a control group that didn’t take up a gratitude practice. It makes sense—I know when I’m less anxious, stressed-out and depressed, I’m more present and enthusiastic about collaborating with my coworkers (or even just getting on that Zoom call).

So how do you even do a gratitude meditation?

During our group meditation, we sat in a large circle, cross-legged, on couches, chairs and floor cushions, closed our eyes and breathed deeply, per our leader’s instructions. Part of her prompts asked us to silently visualize something we were grateful for and hold it in our minds. Narula says she has a structured 20-minute morning meditation practice in her home, “though any quiet moment can set a nice scene for a gratitude practice, I truly believe it can (and should) be done anytime, anywhere. When we learn to find gratitude in the micro-moments of our day, we learn the power we have within us to shift our own perspective through simple awareness.”

What’s the most important part to gratitude meditation?

Consistency. “Part of a gratitude practice or any meditative practice is showing up consistently regardless of circumstances,” Narula says. “When we show up consistently for gratitude, it becomes about something bigger than ourselves.”

What Exactly Is Mindfulness Meditation and How Can I Try It?

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dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...