November 22, 2022

A Practice: Using the 5 A’s to Slow down and Offer Thanks

Practicing gratitude can change your life. Use the 5 As mindfulness practice to offer thanks and live into a practice of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude has the power to transform and involves our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Pay attention to this powerful positive emotion using these simple steps to guide you.

Become aware of the emotions you experience when you consider gifts you have received. Perhaps you feel the emotions of delight and joy; let them point you to an appreciation of these blessings. Recognize and feel those positive emotions in your body and let them fill you up. What emojis might accompany your reactions to those gifts?

From where does a gift come – in the immediate sense and in the ultimate sense? Become aware of what is underlying those feelings. Who provided the gift? For what are you grateful? Take a moment to say thank you to the source. What does this say about what or who matters to you?

Consider how you might align your life with what or who matters most. For example, with whom do you want to spend your time or become more deeply connected? What activities or situations might you want to pursue more of in the next year? What might your choices say about what you love?

Spend time in prayer, meditation, music, walking in nature, or paying gifts forward by helping someone in need. Pass along goodness to others. You might want to share kindness by giving to a food-bank or donating to your church or local non-profit.  Intentionally spend time with those who know and love you, letting them know how grateful you are for their presence in your life.

Was the practice helpful? Were you able to experience more joy and connection? You might want to call a friend and discuss insights, or keep a note in a journal.

Pamela Ebstyne King Executive Director, Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science


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