Your Life Is Great: Here’s Proof
Your life and all that it encompasses is wonderful, even with all the ups and downs you experience. Human nature is such that we tend to appreciate what we have only when it is taken away from us. We take our many liberties, blessings and possessions for granted. Just imagine how much joy and contentment you would experience daily if you truly appreciated the ‘little’ things in your life. I am going to show you how, but, first, let’s look at some common examples illustrating how many of us do not sufficiently appreciate what we currently have.
- You visit the dentist because you have a terrible toothache that has been bothering you for days. You swear that you would do anything to rid yourself of the incessant pain. But how much do you appreciate all the other times when you do not have a toothache? Once the toothache is gone, we quickly take our healthy gums and teeth for granted.
- You jump into your car and drive to your destination. Your mind is preoccupied by the errands you have to run, perhaps unhappy that you are stuck in rush-hour traffic. You might even be annoyed that your vehicle’s air conditioning is not cooling the car quickly enough. But how much do you appreciate the fact that you have a reliable automobile at your disposal? How much do you recall the time when you could not afford to own a decent car?
- You go camping for a few days in a remote spot and, at the end of the third day, you feel unclean and are longing to take a hot shower in your bathroom. But how much do you appreciate your shower every day when you are at home?
- You have been stricken by the flu and feel terrible and weak. You are laying in bed and cannot wait until you recover and feel better. But how much do you appreciate your good health when you are well with no affliction?
- A close family member or friend has passed away and you are grief-stricken. You wish you could see that person again and tell him or her how much they are loved and appreciated. But how much do you really appreciate your current circle of friends and loved ones when you spend time with them now? Do you give them your undivided attention or are you constantly distracted by frivolous matters?
- Your alarm goes off waking you up so that you can get to work on time. You really do not feel like going to work and wish you could sleep in instead. But how much do you appreciate the fact that you have a job in the first place? Do you recall how you felt when you were unemployed, broke and trying to get hired? Are you grateful that you work in a nice office with great co-workers?
- You open the refrigerator and realize that you have no food to cook. You are annoyed, hungry and wish that there was something in the fridge to stifle your hunger. But how much do you appreciate it when your fridge is stocked with an abundance of food? And just how grateful are you when you are out at a restaurant enjoying a delicious meal?
- You are at home using your computer or phone and are irritated by the fact that the video you are attempting to download is taking longer than you expected. You are upset and consider calling your cable company to complain. But how much do you appreciate the fact that you even have wi-fi in the first place? How appreciative are you that your wi-fi connection is generally pretty reliable, fast and has served you well up to that point?
- You are agitated because you learn that your flight to your holiday destination has been delayed. You wish you had booked your flight on another airline because you will now arrive at your destination 2 hours later than anticipated. But how much do you appreciate the fact that you have been granted leave from work and, up to that point, had not been able to find the time or money to go on a vacation in a long time? Do you appreciate the fact that, even though your flight has been slightly delayed, you are sitting comfortably waiting in the airport with a good book and a hot cup of coffee?
- Your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend does something small to annoy you. You are upset because you believe that he or she should know better than that. But how much do you appreciate the fact that he or she is a wonderful partner, has stuck with you through thick and thin, and has shown you love and kindness through the years?
These and other examples typify how many people take their blessings for granted. They are guilty of always wanting more without any regard, gratitude and appreciation for what they already possess. The effect of this is unhappiness, fear, discontent, and a feeling of constant upheaval. The current situation never seems to suffice and they are always looking towards the horizon for something better to come along. It is only when they are suddenly deprived of their current blessings that they start to appreciate them. And once those blessings are restored, they quickly take them for granted again.
This does not mean that you do not also have setbacks, problems and challenges facing you every day. It is just that most people tend to focus on them too much, with no regard for all that is going right in their lives. Setbacks and problems are just a part of life.
So how do you start becoming more grateful and appreciative of life in the current moment? By practicing gratitude and focusing your attention on the present moment.
One of the best ways to become more appreciative and grateful is to practice gratitude. One effective method to do this is to maintain a daily gratitude journal. Keep it by your bedside and, every night before you fall asleep, take the time to list 5 things that you are grateful for that day. Your list could include seemingly small things. Rather than simply writing your list and then going to bed, spend a few minutes thinking about each of the 5 items. Try to invoke all of your senses when recalling each item on your list. For example, you could list the wonderful meal you had for dinner. Recall how wonderful it looked, smelled and tasted. Remember the texture and how much it satisfied you as you ate it. Spend a few seconds doing this, feeling each nuance, before moving on to the next item on your list.
Update your gratitude journal diligently every night and, soon, you will sense a change in yourself, especially pertaining to your psyche. You will slowly, but surely, become more aware of all the wonderful things in your life and become grateful for them. It will soon become evident that your glass is not half empty as you may have previously thought. You may even realize that your glass is overflowing with abundance. It is very important to spend a few seconds on each item you list in your gratitude journal and truly feel deep inside how grateful you are for each of them. This creates a more indelible effect.
Here are some simple examples of what you can include in your journal (it does not have to be big):
- An enjoyable movie that you watched on Netflix
- Spending time with a close friend at lunch
- The wonderful weather that day
- The person who allowed you to park in the parking spot closest to the grocery store
- A chat you had with your Mom or Dad on the phone
- The beautiful flower that just bloomed in your garden
- A set of new headphones for the gym
- Having a relaxing bath while listening to some great music
- Finding a dollar bill and some change hidden in your couch
- The bike ride you took in the park
- The drawing your child brought home proudly from school today
- Your spouse’s, boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s warm smile
- The wonderful glass of wine you tasted for the very first time
Make your list personal and meaningful. Of course, it can include special things such as receiving a larger than anticipated tax refund, getting a promotion, learning that you do not require medical surgery, or the birth of a child. But do not forget to include smaller blessings that you might ordinarily take for granted.
Being Fully Present in the Moment
Almost all your unhappiness, stress, fear, worry, anxiety, and sadness is a result of you ruminating about the past or worrying about and trying to control the future. The only way to be truly happy and content is to be mindful and fully present in the moment. Think about it: if you are stressed out, fearful or anxious, it is most likely because of your thoughts pertaining to a future event that may or may not transpire. And your sadness and regret are most likely the result of your thoughts pertaining to a past event. In other words, your thoughts about the past and future are the cause of your unhappiness, stress and discontent.
It is never the event, predicament or situation that causes your unhappiness. It is your thoughts about the event, predicament or situation that is the root cause. When you are fully present in the moment and not worrying about the past or future, you are free. That is why it is so important to always be in the NOW. You might be tempted to argue that it is important to plan for the future and learn from the past, and I would agree. However, even when you are planning for the future or learning a lesson from the past, you are doing it NOW, so be fully present. Be aware of your thoughts and focus on the present because it is the only time that you truly have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may or may not arrive. You have more abundance than you realize and you have it NOW.
When you are eating your dinner, focus on the food in front of you and truly enjoy it. Your mind wants to wander and worry about the laundry which needs to be done or that walk in the park you are looking forward to. Resist that temptation and focus on your wonderful meal which you are lucky to have. When the time comes to do your laundry, focus on that and that alone. You have access to a washing machine, a dryer, and you are fortunate to have nice clothes to launder. But your mind wants to wander and worry about cooking dinner. When you are going for a walk, focus on your surroundings and the fact that you are blessed to be able to take that walk. But your restless mind wants to worry about the laundry that needs to be done. So it becomes a vicious cycle which never ends. The key is to be fully present in all that you do. In fact, being fully present and focusing your thoughts on one thing and one thing only is the basis of meditation. Meditation is not the absence of thought, as some commonly believe. Meditation means to be fully present on and focusing on one thing. That is why it is so advantageous to meditate daily.
If you practice gratitude and living in the present moment regularly, you will find new peace, happiness, and joy in your life. It will become evident that you are fortunate to have all that you already have and that you life is truly fantastic. You will also find that most of your worry, anxiety, unhappiness, fear, and sadness will dissipate or disappear altogether. It is the path to freedom.