Many people use affirmations to make themselves happier or more positive in outlook repeating phrases to themselves such as “I am worthy of love” or “Today I will concentrate on taking one step forward however small” Affirmations may be of value at certain times, but they can also paper over a troubled mind. This mindfulness practice is different.
Appreciation practice is an investigation. Can we find anything, anywhere, in this moment, that we can appreciate? We look, we listen, we feel, we inquire into our present moment experience. When we take a little time to notice, we may find that there are many things to appreciate, from being dry, clothed and well fed, to encountering kindness from others or simply the tactile warmth of cup of tea or coffee. Another category of things to appreciate are those things that are currently absent in our lives: we tend not to appreciate the absence of illness, thirst, hunger or pain until we have suffered their presence for a while.
Stop whenever you can during the day and consciously identify what you are able to appreciate in this moment. It could be something about yourself, another person, your surroundings or what your body is doing or sensing. This is an investigation. Be curious, asking yourself “Is there anything I can appreciate right now, in this moment?”
The hardest element of this practice is remembering to do it, so take some steps to remind yourself by posting the word “Appreciate” in appropriate places.
Good luck, I look forward to hearing about your experiences.
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Image courtesy of stacey.d