There‘s so much emphasis on getting ahead, being successful and striving for change that it can be hard to remember that you already have so much for which to be grateful. Even worse, the constant pushing to change your circumstances can lead to dissatisfaction, and keep you trapped in a cycle of always feeling you’re not good enough.
Over the last year, like many of us, I have had a lot of time alone. During this time, I’ve reflected more in depth about my values as well what I am grateful for in my life. If this hasn’t been your experience, know that you can make simple changes.
Free yourself from the shackles of ‘must try harder’ by remembering to stop and appreciate what you’ve already achieved, what blessings you already have in your life. Keep in mind that you are free to be content right now. Here are some tips to help free you from the cycle of discontent.
- Change your focus
Research has shown that the more you cultivate a habit of gratitude, the better able you are to weather the ups and downs of life. As you perceive life to be positive, you will come to expect more of the same. You can retrain your brain from negative self-talk to greater thankfulness, gratitude, and happiness.
By practicing gratitude, you rewire the neural pathways in your brain so that it becomes your mindset’s default setting. You learn to look for the good in things instead of focusing on the bad.
- Step away from more stuff
If you’re like most people, you have more than enough possessions. The current mantra is that spending brings happiness, but deep down you probably know that it doesn’t. Sure, buying yourself a new car or outfit makes you feel good at the time, but that spenders high wears off pretty quickly.
Break the habit of buying the next shiny thing and appreciate what you’ve got right now.
- Develop a mindfulness practice
Mindfulness and meditation can help you focus on the good that’s already in your life. By focusing on the present, you free yourself from that familiar yoyo-ing of brooding over past disappointments and future anxieties.
You can easily integrate mindfulness into your day. Whatever you’re doing, pause and focus on your breath. Ask yourself: what are five things I’m grateful for in my life right now? Your five items can be anything from having a roof over your head to having a job, your partner or your health. Or you can be grateful for a comfortable chair or clean sheets! Chose anything that makes you feel good at that very moment.
Choosing gratitude and contentment doesn’t mean being stagnant or giving up. It means stepping aside from judgment and freeing yourself from the bonds of negativity.
Do you use any of these gratitude practices in your daily routine? Feel free to brag about your success in the comments!