Even when everything is going well in your life, and there's a lot of drama in your relationships, it can still be hard to find ways to be appreciative in your everyday life. Of course, no one means to take things for granted, but it can be surprisingly easy to focus on the bad things sometimes. Maybe you forget about how wonderful your relationship is, or how much you actually like your job when times get tough. It happens to all of us.
Sometimes to appreciate the good in your life, you need to understand the bad first. "Sorry to break the news to you, but life is hard. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying. I'm not saying that beautiful things don't happen, but we often...will go to any length to sustain pleasant sensations while pushing away pain. Avoiding pain is like trying to keep an inflated beach ball submerged under water. Good luck with that," says licensed marriage and family therapist Ada K Pang, MS, LMFT in an interview with Bustle over email.
Accepting that pain does exist in life is a good first step to being less afraid of those bad things happening. This way you'll be able to spend less time fearing the negative, and more time appreciating the positive, which is the ultimate goal. Below are a few more examples on how to be happier by appreciating your life more each and every day.
1. Keep Track Of Things That Are Positive
"[You] can keep a weekly list of things that went 'right.' Refer to this during times when everything seems wrong. It helps you put things in perspective when you are catastrophizing," says psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC in an interview with Bustle over email. No matter what way you decide to keep track of the positive things that happen every day, make sure you look back at the end of every week (or whenever you're having a rough day) to remind yourself that life is actually pretty good, sometimes.
2. Show Your Love Ones How Much They Mean To You
Rather than focusing on what you can receive from others, simply tell your friends and family how much you love them as often as possible. "Let people you care about know what it is that you appreciate about them on a regular basis. The return you will get in appreciation and joy from them is immense," says Martinez.
3. Have A Mindful Morning
Begin your day by practicing gratitude. Whether you meditate, write in a journal, or have a few moments to yourself watching your favorite TV show, you can become more appreciative by setting aside time for yourself. "It is always a great idea to start the day with morning mantras. You should also develop a morning routine where you take time to yourself, before anyone is up, and ease yourself into your day," says Martinez.
4. Acknowledge That Pain Is Part Of Life
As touched on earlier in the article, while no one wants to deal with heartbreak or death, it can be easier to manage when you comprehend that those negative moments can actually make you stronger. "Acknowledge that pain and suffering are a part of life, rather than an exception — if you live long enough, and sometimes, you don't even have to live that long, you know that crap will hit the fan," says Pang.
5. Appreciate The Little Moments
If you're doing the same mundane things every day, it can be hard to appreciate your life — because frankly, you might be bored with it. "Fight the tendency to operate on auto-pilot. When you really slow down and notice what's around you, you'll see colors, shapes, textures, relationships...you've taken for granted," says Pang.
6. Focus On The Positive, Rather Than The Negative
All of us have days when it's incredibly easy to focus on the negative and unbelievably hard to see the positive. But why would you want to limit yourself to only seeing the bad? It can take some work, but allowing yourself to see the good things in life as often as possible is key to feeling happier and more appreciative. "Everyday, train your brain to notice the things that have gone well that day," says Pang.
7. Live A Valued Life
Sometimes it can be hard to be positive when you're not entirely sure what your life's purpose is. Take a few moments out of your day to ask yourself some important questions so you can live a meaningful life. "What matters to you? What do you want to live for? Doing those things will bring you vitality and meaning even when life gets tough," says Pang.
8. Focus On Doing What Works
"Do what is most effective in the moment, rather than dwelling on what's fair, unfair, should, should not, etc," says Pang. It can be hard to feel positive when your life may not be exactly how you want it to be, but it's important to remember that no one's life is perfect. Focus on what works for you and what's going well, as well as what you want to change, and you may be surprised at how much better you feel about things.
9. Learn To Appreciate What You Do Have
Rather than complaining about what you wish you had, identify the things you do have that makes your life just as amazing. According to All Woman Talk, instead of focusing on what you don't have, appreciate what you do have by counting your blessings and learning to be content with your life.
10. Set Reminders Throughout The Day
Feel like you're too busy to take 20 minutes for yourself to appreciate your life? Send yourself positive notifications instead. According to the Huffington Post, take a few moments to schedule gratitude reminders so you can receive notifications when you're on the go. You can also post little notes around the house or set alarms on your phone with mini messages.
11. Learn To Practice Every Day
Now that you're aware of the steps you need to take to be more appreciative, try to practice these tricks as much as possible so you can live a more fulfilling life. "Start by easing your way into it, 1 to 2 days per week for a few weeks, and then add it up until it becomes a daily routine. If you take small and manageable steps, this will not seem so overwhelming, although they are a number of changes to routine and habit," says Martinez.
While there are plenty of benefits as to why you should be more appreciative of your life, being more aware of the positives things instead of the negative can hopefully enhance one of the most important relationships in your life: yourself.