We all have so much to be grateful for everyday. We have everything we need and can get almost anything we want. And yet many people find many more things in their lives to complain about than to appreciate. We take the fact that we have all the things we need to survive for granted and we’ve learned that we can get the things we desire, and we end up wanting more and more instead of being happy and very grateful for all the things we already have. The irony of this is that someone who has everything he’s ever wanted might still not be happy with it, while someone with few things who appreciates them can feel complete satisfaction and fulfilment.
Making an effort to notice and appreciate all the wonderful things in the world and in your life makes every day a great day. Here are some ways to start being more appreciative.
1. Keep a gratitude journal
Set aside a few minutes a day to list the things you are grateful for at that moment. Think about the people you are happy to have in your life, the things without which you couldn’t survive, your personal qualities that you are proud of, the things that make your life easier or more enjoyable, things that happened that day that made you happy, and things that will happen soon that you are excited about. This will bring the people and things you appreciate to the forefront of your mind, and then when you encounter them in your life you will remember your list and appreciate them actively as well.
2. It could always be worse
Remember that no matter how bad your situation might be at the moment, it could always be worse. Maybe it actually has been worse in the past, or maybe your comparison will be hypothetical; either way, contrasting your situation with, for example, that of someone who doesn’t have clean water to drink or a roof over their head, makes you realize that your seemingly awful situation is actually a small bump in a very, very fortunate life.
3. Help others
Give to others by volunteering at a soup kitchen, nursing home, hospital, etc., donating to a charity, giving money or food to a homeless person, or even just helping someone in need of even the smallest help, such as holding the door for them, helping them carry something, or letting them borrow something from you. Doing things for other people makes you feel great and makes you appreciate it when the tables are turned and someone helps you out.
4. Keep your thoughts positive
Realize when you are being overly critical or negative toward yourself, other people, or your life events. When you notice yourself focusing on the negatives, counter your negative list with all the good qualities of whatever you are complaining about. You will feel better about whatever you’re facing when you see that it’s not so bad and you’ll fill yourself with positive thoughts which will improve your outlook on the rest of your life.
5. Say “thank you”
Show others that you appreciate them and what they do for you. Make sure to say “thank you” for anything that someone gives you—literally, anytime someone hands you something, thank them, and if they’ve given you something abstract like help or advice, thank them a few times. Show that you understand that they didn’t need to, but wanted to and chose to, help you or benefit you in some way, and that you really appreciate it. They will appreciate your appreciation and your recognition of their act, and you will create a really nice connection and likely turn one nice act into a cycle of helping and appreciating each other.
What do you appreciate in your life? Have you noticed a difference in your mood, thoughts, energy, or whole life when you implement some of these ideas and appreciate your world more?