Advertising

How to Appreciate Life More and Be Grateful

Advertising
How to Appreciate Life More and Be Grateful

When you look at your life, are you enjoying the moment? Can you really appreciate life? If not, what do you need to change?

Maybe you need to change everything.

Gratitude takes a simple shift in your mindset. Notice the positive things, and you’ll feel positive. Notice the joys, and you’ll feel joyous. Notice goodness of the life you have, and you have more things to look forward to.

Gratitude rewires the brain. The ventral and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex are activated and “involved in feelings of reward (the reward when stress is removed), morality, interpersonal bonding, and positive social interactions, and the ability to understand what other people are thinking or feeling.” [1] After that, your brain releases neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which allow you to experience happiness.

You may start a day with negative emotions and perceptions, but choosing to be grateful can help you in many ways. Appreciation leads to finding determination and feeling whole, you see. It can help you love your life even at your lowest.

Appreciation is all you need to make the most of your life.

You can appreciate life more and be grateful in the following ways:

1. Give

When you give to others, you don’t immediately realize how much impact your life can have on them. That makes it more meaningful.

You can easily give to a stranger, a loved one, or anyone by merely showing up for them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have endless means to provide for other people. What matters is that you care.

Selflessness is so vital in becoming the best version of yourself. Why? You’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You’re living with meaning and purpose. You lose yourself in doing good, so you can think of yourself less while still getting to know yourself. It comes full circle.

When you give selflessly, ethics and empathy are the best tools to have under your belt. You grow and evolve and see what’s most important in life this way.

Advertising

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what’s real and get lost in the fleeting, fake side of life. But when you give, you remember everything. You remember your why — your reason for reaching out to those in need. You are no longer alone, and your love for life just shines through you.

What should you give, you may ask?

Give your time if you can’t give anything else. In that sense, anyone can provide something valuable to others. You will feel grateful for all you can do in this life with what you have.

It doesn’t mean that giving will solve your problems or anyone else’s. Kindness in this world can do so many things that we don’t even know of.

You don’t do it for rewards. You do it because it feels right to give.

This is how to lead a life that you can feel good about.

2. Mindfulness

Sit with your feelings, your thoughts. Listen to what your gut is trying to tell you. Love yourself. Then, look around you and see what you have.

Focus on the senses, and ground yourself in things that make you happy. You can be at the moment if you do it more than you usually do. Thus, you can appreciate life and the small things that come with it.

Try to realize how tiny you are compared to the vastness of the sea or sky. There is much to be in awe of in this world. Forget what is false and fleeting, and see the brilliance of being alive.

Mindfulness is one trick that most psychologists and gurus use to help others get over their fears. It is about finding acceptance, going with the flow, and sticking with it.[2] Instead of focusing on what you’re afraid of or worried about, you need to cherish the moment and focus at present.

Here is a helpful guide if you want to learn how to live in the moment: 5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much

Advertising

If you are mindful, you can take control of your life by letting go. This will reduce your stress and increase your mental strength. Your life can improve when you know what doesn’t serve you anymore. Then, you may learn to appreciate life without depending on others.

3. Love Yourself

When you love yourself, you can be more grateful for the life that you have. You can rise to meet any challenge that comes your way. You just have to try to be good to yourself like you would to anyone else.

Self-compassion is key to surviving whatever you are going through. Once you feel that, you will know who you are meant to be.

According to Deepak Chopra, unconditionally loving yourself is about accepting your flaws, inner resistance and challenges, old wounds, etc.[3] It’s not about just plastering a smile on your face and faking self-love. No, you have to get real with yourself.

Being vulnerable takes some power and honesty. You may start loving yourself more if you genuinely face things and appreciate how far you’ve come.

Appreciate who you are as you are. It doesn’t mean that you are perfect or that you are worth it. When you accept yourself as a whole, you can climb higher than you ever imagine and view yourself with pride.

You got here. You made it this far.

What do you love about yourself? What about the imperfections — can you give yourself grace for some of them? Be patient with yourself and realize what you have to offer. No one can live this life but you.

You have your unique path, so try to love yourself and enjoy the ride.

Learn more about How to Love Yourself And Embrace Who You Really Are.

4. Hyperfocus on the Positive

When you have a positive outlook, you become productive. When you look at what’s good in life, you can do more with it. When you stay hyperfocused on the positive, you can achieve anything.

Advertising

You appreciate life more when you have this mindset because you choose not to focus on its negative aspects every second of your waking day. You look at everything around you, figure out what you can use, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is an act of kindness that I or someone I know has done?
  • What is an experience I can look back on and feel good about?
  • What has made me feel happy lately?
  • What activities have I enjoyed?
  • What’s a positive thought about myself and my life?
  • What healthy choices have I been making?
  • What good things can I do more of?
  • What can I appreciate even during the days when I feel like giving up?
  • What good can gratitude do for me?.

5. Make a Gratitude List

You’ve probably heard of this one before, but it’s not easy to make a gratitude list. Still, that’s precisely what you should be doing.

Write down everything you are grateful for at the end of each day. Stay open to how life progresses and how your attitude or beliefs change before it’s too late.

The things you are grateful for don’t have to be colossal. It can be something that has happened in your past or is happening right now. It may even be something that you are looking forward to.

There are also simple ways to create a list. In truth, some of them were even used by children. For instance, you can play “rose and thorn” every day.[4] What was the lively (rose) or awful (thorn) part of your day? Try to find more roses than thorns whenever possible.

More importantly, you can write a gratitude list anytime, any day. No matter what your reason is, just write it. Then, you will find yourself feeling genuinely grateful for the things you have written down.

6. Take a Break

Have you spent time with the people you care about lately? Have you chosen to look around you and see how good your life is?

It doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep evolving appreciate the now. In order to develop, you have to know what’s worth fighting for. The quickest way to do that is by taking a break to enjoy life more.

Whether you take a vacation or go to your backyard to experience the wonders of life, take the time to do so. Perhaps you just need to exhale and know that you are safe. Maybe you were missing out on things before, or there was a version of yourself you would like to get back. Whatever it is, you can gain it all by showing gratitude.

Explore nature. Take a trip. Get out of the house. Put down your smartphone and look up in the sky. Take the more scenic route and find a way back to what matters.

7. Celebrate Your Wins

Please take note of what you have achieved in life and what you continue to do well.

Advertising

Doing so says a lot about you. It entails that you have a reason to get up in the morning and keep going. With that perspective, you can do anything.

You can also be grateful for any accomplishment, even if it’s as simple as being alive. You are still here; you will always have something to say.

Even if you can’t succeed at everything, whatever progress you have made matters. It tells an important story about not just who you are but who you can become as well.

You are resilient, worthy, and good enough. All you have to do is see it — see your value — to appreciate your worth and shape your life’s narrative.

8. Stay Thankful

You may not know how far a simple “thank you” can go.

When you appreciate everyone, you make more profound and more meaningful connections. When your life takes a positive turn, you cannot forget the people who have helped you along the way. After all, if you can remember them, you can remember yourself. You can choose to keep giving and showing up for life because you know who supports you.

Furthermore, say thank you to life itself. Be grateful every time you walk outside. You can decide to make it a good day just by being grateful. You get this one life, and what you do with it is up to you.

Your life has value. If you give up, you will never appreciate life. Your time is short, so every little bit matters.

When you give thanks, you make meaning. You pick out parts of your life that are still good and hold onto them despite everything. Then, you pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else. You can pay attention to the world and its beauty even if you are dealing with a mess by simply being thankful.

Final Thoughts

It’s not always easy to see what’s right in front of you. It’s easier to complain, close off, and be blind to the beauty that this life has to offer.

However, when you open up, you recognize that you are never alone. You have enough. You ARE enough. And that’s the power of appreciation.

Advertising

Appreciation can fill you with positive thoughts and emotions when you think you have nothing. It’s the fuel that can help you keep going.

More on Appreciating Your Life

Featured photo credit: Nazym Jumadilova via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sarah Browne

Sarah is a speaker, writer and activist

17 Things to Remember When You Hit the Wall in Life 5 Simple Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude 10 Self-Exploration Practices to Discover Your True Self 14 Personal Goals for a Better You Next Year 7 Self-Soothing Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Relief

Trending in Happiness

1 How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life 2 5 Tips for Self-Care During the Holidays 3 15 Things You Don’t Need To Apologize For (Though You Think You Do) 4 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Stay Happy All The Time 5 How to Live a Happy Life: 10 Keys to Happiness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

Advertising
How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

Advertising

Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

Advertising

Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

Advertising

When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

Advertising

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

Advertising

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next