Our culture puts an emphasis on accomplishments and competition. Social media allows people to boast their accomplishments and there is continuous access to a list of people to compare ourselves to. We are so focused on what we are planning or hoping for, that we lose the power of the present. By always measuring ourselves we sometimes forget the simple things we are grateful for; the unique qualities that we each have to offer and the support systems that encourage us and remain steady through our hardships.
1) Remind yourself of the very basics of human needs. The simple parts of your life; food, shelter, and safety. Did you have a warm bed to sleep in last night? Were you able to nourish yourself with food and feel satisfied? So many others live without this list of what we consider necessities. When you arise in the morning let yourself feel the blanket that keeps your toes warm at night and the opportunity of a new day.
2) Think of all the people you may take for granted. Whether it be your parents, your significant other, a friend. Even people who are not involved in your everyday life. Think of a person who has taken you under their wing when you were learning something new, or a person who let you go in traffic because you would have sat there for another hour if people weren’t considerate. It’s easy to find faults in the people in our lives, and that mindset tends to outshine the people who have changed our day for the better. Don’t focus your energy on people who are critical of you instead take a moment to think of one person that day who made you feel encouraged.
3) You may have a great day, one where you are extra productive or where you were able to catch up on sleep and relaxation, but one negative event may happen that overshadows all the positives. Sometimes as a nurse I’ll have days where I connect rather well with patients, but was unable to eat healthy through my shift — and that is all that I focus on. Take a look at your day and list what you did well. Pat yourself on the back, it’s alright to do that once in a while.
4) Disconnect for at least an hour. This is especially hard to do because people need to be answered, pictures need to be seen, and work needs to be done — but technology keeps us from seeing what is in our direct environment. Put your phone away at dinner and talk to the person across from you. Go for a run and turn off your notifications. Respect what is there in that very moment.
5) Appreciate failures and rejections. It is hard to be grateful when we didn’t get the big interview or when the person we care about us decides to walk away; but in the grand scheme of things, those rejections and setbacks are what eventually bring us to new beginnings. Cultivate the habit of taking a rejection in stride, and take inventory of how many times a failure has brought you to exactly where you need to be.
6) Practice self-care. Write a list of things that make you happy; spending time with your dog, drinking hot chocolate, going on hikes, and make time for those things. When you give yourself a break from always worrying about taking care of others we open the door to investing time in ourselves.
7) Be cognizant of your barriers. What is keeping you from being appreciative? Your job, finances, relationships? Admit sometimes you are powerless to these things and you can’t just get up and walk away from situations you are deeply rooted in — but acknowledge that you have power in your choices, and are willing to put in the effort to release yourself from these barriers (even if it’s a slow progression).
8) Give yourself grace. I need to tell myself this everyday. We demand perfection from ourselves, and oftentimes are the biggest critics of our faults. Record a list of things you are good at. Don’t be shy, you’re pretty great. Whether it is a physical affirmation when you look particularly great, or an acknowledgement of the fact that you’re adept at a somewhat difficult skill, don’t short yourself of all the amazement that is you.