Here are three quick and easy things you can do to start living more appreciatively. Like anything else, it will take time to become a habit, but the small changes you make will combine and build up more quickly than you expect.
- Keep a daily ‘gratitude journal’ in which you record things that you are grateful for (no matter how small) – this will have a positive effect on your well-being. Positive psychology researcher Dr Robert Emmons has found that keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks significantly improves happiness levels. When you keep it up for longer, there are also positive effects on health, sleep time and social connectedness – see http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons.
- Treat problems as challenges – look for what you are grateful about in bad things as well as good. This in itself can be a challenge at first, but every problem is also an opportunity to learn.
- Ask yourself ‘What do I need to learn from this?’ whenever anything bad happens. Asking yourself this question, and creating some space to allow the answer to emerge, will increase your self-awareness and help you to correct anything that you may be doing unwittingly to contribute to the problem.