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Wellness Wednesday: Gratitude can change everything

(Photo courtesy of DePaul's Health Promotion and Wellness.)
As we enter the halfway point of spring quarter, we hope you’ve started to settle into this new virtual world. It has been a difficult few weeks personally, academically, professionally and economically. This week, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness wants to empower you to stay focused, grounded and moving forward through gratitude and mindfulness meditation.

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks, while mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgement.

To begin practicing gratitude, ask yourself "What am I thankful for and whom or what do I appreciate?"

You might want to start a gratitude practice daily, weekly or whenever the mood strikes. You can ask yourself this question internally, out loud, to others or write it down. However you want to practice gratitude, go forth and be grateful.

When your mood is dark or sour, it is okay to give yourself permission to simply feel. Use gratitude when you need it, avoid forcing yourself to practice gratitude when it feels difficult. But, sometimes when we practice gratitude, we can find the light in the darkest hours and push forward in a positive manner.

To begin practicing mindfulness meditation can be done in many ways. You can use guided meditation by a video or meditation app or simply tune inwards to look at your breath, wherever you are.

Here are some tips for mindfulness meditation practice:

  • Find a quiet comfortable space.
  • Relax into your body and close your eyes.
  • Focus on your breath.
  • Use counting to guide your inhales and exhales.
  • Do it for as little or as long as you need.
  • Aim for a weekly or even daily practice.
Practice mindfulness meditation wherever you are and whenever you may start to feel out of balance. Use it to re-center your mind, body and spirit. Here is a great video to introduce you to mindfulness meditation and calming the mind.

Take Care DePaul!