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Try this meditation to chase the winter blues away

Darker days have you down? Keep this meditation in your back pocket to channel gratitude (even when you're cold and sad).
Image: Young Asian walking on the street under snow
Oscar Wong / Getty Images

It's easy to feel the winter blues when the weather turns cool, and it starts turning dark so early. There is good news, however, because you can shift your energy from feeling scarcity (why do I live in this cold place?) to a deep sense of gratitude.

Here is a meditation for warmth and gratitude, designed to help you feel happy and abundant, even in late fall and winter. Best of all you can do this meditation while walking, even in the middle of the day, if you slow down your pace and follow these simple instructions:

  • Turn your attention from the parts of your body that are cold (perhaps your hands, the top of your head or feet if your socks aren't thick enough) to an area that feels warm.
  • If you're wearing a cozy sweater or turtleneck or a warm jacket, focus your attention here.
  • What does this warmth feel like? Examine the sensations of your body as the warmth emanates from within you. How does this warmth feel? What do you notice about it? Really study the sensations of this area of your body that's warm.
  • Now take a moment to be grateful for your warm shirt, sweater or jacket and to be grateful for yourself for putting it on this morning.
  • Now look up and ignite your sense of sight. What do you notice about the trees in your field of vision? If it's still fall, are the leaves turning colors? Do you see holiday decorations around you or architectural details like gargoyles or ornate balconies you might normally overlook? Can you admire the beauty of any and all nature around you and the craftsmanship of the buildings in your field of vision?
  • Look down for a moment. Are you walking on leaves just fallen from trees around you?
  • What are all the colors you see around you? Are there different shades of green or brown, and what does the light look like as it hits details of a building or a tree around you? Take a moment to be grateful for all the colors in your environment, and your fortune to notice and admire all the shades of the various colors around you.
  • Now turn on your sense of smell. Can you detect a house fire in a nearby home? Chestnuts for sale on a street corner? Coffee from a cafe you're passing by? Take a moment to be grateful for all the delicious smells in your environment.
  • Now go back to your sense of feeling. What does your warm clothing feel like on your body? What does the ground feel like under your shoes? What do your shoes feel like on your feet? Let gratitude rise within you for sidewalks that are smooth and safe to walk on and for gravity and everything that makes it possible for us to easily walk down the street.
  • Continue lighting up your senses, and circling between these and the feeling of the warmth wherever you feel warmest in your body.

This exercise, which you can do for five minutes or 30, will shift your mindset towards gratitude for what you have, rather than anger or disappointment about what you don't. Our minds are quite powerful and amazing — enjoy and be grateful that you can shift your attention easily whenever you need to.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

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