In today’s meditation session, I’m going to share my favorite gratitude meditation and its benefits. You’ll be stunned by how good this meditation script makes you feel.
As a meditation teacher, I’ve used this meditation with many of my students. They all say the same thing: It makes them incredibly happy and glad to be alive.
Try the meditation below, and you can find all my other meditation scripts here.
Guided Gratitude Meditation
1: Sit with good posture
We want to sit with good posture because it will help us to focus while we meditate.
Position your feet shoulder-width apart and firmly planted on the floor. Let your spine be straight but relaxed. Let your shoulders move outwards a little to expand your chest area. Tuck your chin down a little to elongate your neck.
2: Close your eyes and breathe for five minutes:
It’s important to focus your mind before you start thinking about gratitude. That way, you won’t be affected by unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Breathe through your nose, focusing your mind on the sensation of your breath moving between your nostrils. Take at least 25 breaths in this way.
While deep breathing you are activating your parasympathetic nervous system to promote feelings of wellness 
3: Bring to mind people you love, and express gratitude for them.
You are likely already very thankful for the people you love. Therefore, this is a great place to start to cultivate gratitude. So, bring to mind the people you love most.
Start with one person you truly love. I like to start with my mom. Now say the mantra, “I am grateful to have you in my life.”
While you say this mantra, think of one specific time that you were truly grateful for this person. Visualize the thing they did that made you happy. You should notice a feeling of gladness in your soul. Be aware of that feeling. Then proceed to someone else who is close to you, repeat the mantra, think of the time you were thankful, and meditate on it, and so on.
To give one example. I like to think of my mom, who often comes to visit me in Canada (I live in Canada, and she lives in England). I visualize hugging her when she arrives. This makes me feel very glad. I then meditate on that feeling of gladness.
One of the benefits of gratitude meditation is that it helps to make us happy and to reduce feelings of sadness and depression . You will notice this at this stage of the meditation.
Note that this is based on Loving Kindness Meditation.
4: Be grateful for your acquaintances. Bring an acquaintance to mind. Think of one reason you’re thankful for them.
The next step is to be grateful for people whom we feel neutral about (we don’t like them or dislike them). The reason this is important is that it makes us grateful for people in general.
Bring to mind one person who is an acquaintance but not someone you are particularly close to nor someone you dislike. Now bring to mind one thing this person does that makes you feel grateful. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It could be something mundane.
For instance, one of my acquaintances is the woman who works in the convenience store I always go to. She always smiles in the most pleasant way. And for that, I am grateful. So, I bring that to mind. I imagine her smiling at me. I then repeat the mantra, “I am grateful to have you in my life”. And again, I observe the warm feeling of gladness in your heart. When I do this, I always feel a higher level of wellness. (3)
5: Now be grateful for challenging people. Bring a challenging person to mind. Force yourself to think of one reason you’re thankful for them
This step might seem a little strange at first. However, it is particularly important. You want to bring to mind people you struggle to get along with. Then bring to mind one reason why you are grateful for them. And again, repeat the mantra, “I am grateful to have you in my life.”
This might sound tricky, so I will give an example. I am not particularly grateful for my neighbours, who spend half the day shouting at one another. However, I am grateful that they are always polite and friendly to me. So, I meditate on that. This makes me feel more grateful for them, and more tolerant of their shortcomings.
The reason this step is important is that it challenges us to see difficult people in a positive light. You’re challenging your distrust and dislike of people. You’re taking negative feelings and turning them into positives. This is one reason why gratitude meditation helps to reduce feelings of distrust in strangers, because it makes us grateful for people in general. (4).
6: Gratitude for self: Think of one reason you are grateful for yourself. Now express gratitude for being the person you are.
This is arguably the most important part of our gratitude meditation script. You want to be grateful for yourself.
You do this using the same process as before. Think of one thing about yourself that makes you truly grateful to be the person you are. Now say the mantra, “I am grateful for myself.” And again, take a moment to meditate on the emotion of thankfulness.
Self-gratitude is incredibly important. It helps to increase self-esteem and to improve self-love, which is vital for overall wellbeing.
7: Gratitude for nature. Bring to mind all the aspects of nature that you love.
Now that we have meditated on gratitude for people, we want to finish by being grateful for nature. If you’re like me, you probably think nature is the most precious thing in the world. So, it won’t be hard to feel grateful for nature!
Bring to mind the various aspects of nature that make you feel grateful. Perhaps it’s blue skies, or tall trees, or the sound of birdsong, or the feeling of damp grass on your bare feet. Bring those things to mind, and each time you bring something to mind, repeat the mantra, “I am grateful to have this in my life.”
8: Finish with the breath
To finish, take a few relaxing breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
That is my best gratitude meditation script. Next, you might like to read my guide to meditation for happiness.
In this script, we have learned to be grateful for the people in our lives, and even grateful for people who sometimes annoy us. This naturally makes us much happier, and even increases our patience and tolerance for people’s shortcomings. We’ve also expressed gratitude for nature, making us even more appreciative of the natural world.
Benefits of Gratitude and Meditation
Dr. Kathi Kemper [executive director of the Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness] says that gratitude can help to “promote a positive mood, hope, and resilience.”
Gratitude is an essential mental trait that is one of the defining characteristics of happiness according to Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology. Indeed, it is so important that, as Jack Kornfield says, “Buddhist monks begin each day with a chant of gratitude for the blessings of their life.”
There are similar rituals in other cultures too. Native American elders have a ceremony in which they express gratitude to mother earth and father sky. If you look through The Bible you will find countless references to gratitude. And one of the most popular trends today is keeping a gratitude journal in which we write down all the things we feel thankful for from the day. .
Like other methods of meditating, the gratitude meditation promotes parasympathetic nervous system activity to create feelings of wellness, while also reducing amygdala activity to reduce stress. But it goes further.
For starters, the most obvious advantage of gratitude meditation is, well, gratitude. This is backed by scientific evidence in a study from 2016, .
Other benefits include:
- Increases our trust in strangers.
- Decreases depression
- Increases the quality of our sleep 
- Reduces risk of suicide 
For more, I highly recommend reading the website Gratefulness.org, the site of Robert A. Emmons, PhD, a leading expert on the science of gratitude.
Now try a new meditation script.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison