Gratitude and Appreciation
Time frame: 5-20 minutes per day
Purpose: Gratitude is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reframe your thoughts and generate positive, helpful emotions. Engaging in grateful thoughts and feelings can shift your nervous system out of fight, flight, or freeze mode, and into a state of calmness and relaxation. Gratitude can also reduce fear and scarcity based thinking, and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Preparation: Close your eyes or keep them open and soften your gaze. Focus on specific people or things you are grateful for, or the general concept of appreciation.
Instructions: Breathe in the feeling of gratitude and focus on an image that represents something you are grateful for. Breathe out appreciation. Focus on breathing into the heart region. Imagine that your heart is radiating with the energy of gratitude and appreciation, and emanating through your body and all around you.
Diaphragmatic Breathing aka Belly Breathing
Time frame: 1-20 minutes per day
Purpose: Diaphragmatic breathing can reduce stress, tension, and inflammation in the gut, which can alleviate symptoms of anxiety. This practice can help you feel more grounded and emotionally balanced.
Preparation: You can close your eyes for this practice, or keep them open. Place one or both hands on your abdomen to guide your awareness to the solar plexus. You can breathe in and out through your nose or mouth.
Instructions: Take a deep breath into the diaphragm. Focus on sending the breath down past the lungs and into the belly as if you are filling your abdomen like a balloon. Exhale to release and empty the diaphragm. Breathe slowly and fully, taking all of the time you need with each inhalation and exhalation.
Compassion and Acceptance
Time frame: 5-15 minutes per day
Purpose: This practice is helpful when you notice that you are engaging in judgment, comparative/competitive thinking, nitpicking, or criticizing yourself or others. It’s also useful to do this meditation when you’re dealing with painful emotions or difficult situations and want to process your feelings productively without shutting down or wallowing.
Preparation: Close your eyes, or keep them open with a soft gaze. Take a moment to reflect on something you would like to accept or let go of or an area of your life that can benefit from receiving compassion. Focus on an image, color, or feeling that represents compassion and acceptance.
Instructions: Slowly breathe in the idea, image, or energy of compassion. Imagine that compassion is filling your entire body and mind. Exhale the energy of acceptance. Focus on an image or sensation of letting go when you exhale. Once you complete the exhale, return to compassion and breathe in. Imagine you are extending compassion to yourself, your feelings, the situation you are in, and other people who may be involved. Breathe out acceptance, and let it all go.