The art of gratitude: 7 simple ways to have more appreciation for the little things in life

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It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, especially with so many things demanding our attention.

We tend to focus on the major accomplishments and milestones in our lives, which is great, these should be celebrated.

But we should also appreciate the smaller things, the quieter moments that played a part in allowing us to experience our bigger successes.

Learning how to appreciate the little things in life can also enhance our overall well-being and mindset, as it teaches us to be grateful.

So without further ado, if you want to learn how to appreciate life a bit more – here are 6 ways you can start with.

1) Stop complaining

No one wants to be around a Negative Nancy. They drain your energy with every word they spit out.

But did you know that whatever you say impacts your mindset as well? If you’re someone who’s a chronic complainer, it’s very likely that you see the world negatively.

To you, there’s no silver lining anywhere.

In order to shift your mindset, it’s important to stop complaining. The next time you feel the urge to say something negative, keep it in. 

This may be tough at the start, but practice makes perfect. After trying this out for the tenth time, it becomes slightly easier. 

Your outlook in life will also start to improve. You’ll see hope and opportunity instead of gloom and disappointment. 

If something negative happens, you’ll realize that you’re able to turn that situation into something good instead.

2) Be thankful for the little things

We can all remember the moments when we achieved significant milestones. But less so for the smaller wins in our lives.

This is because we’re conditioned to celebrate the bigger achievements, since these are the more ‘significant’ ones, or the ones that are ‘worth’ celebrating.

But the process is equally important and significant. It’s the collection of smaller wins that paved the way for the big wins and these are also worth celebrating.

You may not need to throw a party every time you experience a small win, but it’s good to pause and reflect on it. 

As you reflect, you’ll start learning how to appreciate the time and effort you took to get to where you are, as well as acknowledge the support you received from the community around you.

This helps us stay grounded as well, lest we attribute our big successes to us only.

The thing is that no man is an island. Someone would have definitely given us a push or some help in our life journeys, and it’s important to be thankful at all times.

Another way to help in this is to…

3) Journal regularly

Journalling allows me to keep a record of my feelings, thoughts, and what occurred during the day. 2023 was the first year I kept this habit up regularly, and reading it all at the end of the year gave me insight into how much I grew throughout the year.

It’s very easy to forget things, especially the little things, so keeping a journal does help us piece them together to form the bigger picture or story of our lives. 

If you have no inspiration to write, there are helpful prompts out there for you to start. 

You can start with just a few lines after you wake up to set your intentions for the rest of the day and end with another few lines just before you sleep to take note of your thoughts, and the events that transpired during the day.

This forces us to pause and appreciate life, giving us time to slow down and look inwards, instead of getting swept up in the busyness of things as life passes us by.

4) Go on a social media detox

While social media can be very entertaining, it can also be a thief of joy. 

When you start comparing your lives with others or stress over what to post online to maintain a facade of happiness, that’s when you should put down the phone and focus your attention elsewhere.

If you remain in this mindset for too long, you’ll start becoming dissatisfied with your life and find yourself wanting more – which can seriously harm your mental health.

So log out of those apps, delete them, and spend a week just being present in your life. Rather than vying over the seemingly happier lives of others, be thankful for what you have in yours. 

Spend time with your loved ones, go for walks, and have a good meal – all without posting these on social media.

You’ll find that there’s so much in your life to be thankful for.

5) Practice finding “One Good Thing” a day

On some days, this can be the easiest thing to do. On other days, this can be extremely challenging.

Your “One Good Thing” doesn’t need to be something grand, it could be as simple as the bus coming right on time, that you managed to catch the sunrise, or that the barista at your local coffee shop remembered your order.

This habit will force you to see the good in things, no matter how difficult it may be. 

Once, I had an extremely bad day when everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I remember it being 10 am (the day had barely started) and regretting getting out of bed.

But I went home and forced myself to squeeze out “One Good Thing”, which was that I didn’t get caught in the rain on the way home (the moment I stepped into the house, it started to pour outside). I had also forgotten my umbrella.

It didn’t completely wash away the negativity of the day, but it did help add a dose of positivity.

It’s the little things that collectively build up into something bigger.

After finding many good things on better days, when a bad day hits, it won’t be that difficult to find that silver lining.

6) Enjoy nature

Nature has a way of helping us pause and reflect, so try heading to your local park this weekend to either take a walk or simply sit and watch the world go by.

It helps us declutter our brains as we embrace the outdoors – the wind on our faces, the flowers blooming on the side of the pavement, and the sound the leaves make when we step on them.

Our problems may not magically disappear, but enjoying nature enables us to be mindful that there’s beauty all around us, we just need to pay attention.

7) Express gratitude to others

An attitude of gratitude helps us acknowledge the people in our lives and appreciate them for who they are. 

We tend to take our loved ones for granted as well.

We’re generous with our ‘thank you’s to strangers and acquaintances, but are somehow stingy with these when it comes to the people closest to us.

It may be uncomfortable at first, but do it enough times and it will become instinctive. You’ll realize that not only will you appreciate your loved ones a lot more, but the relationships you have with them will be strengthened as well.

Concluding thoughts

If you haven’t started on the abovementioned habits, now is a good time as any.

Incorporating these simple practices into your daily life will do wonders for your overall well-being and improve your outlook in life.

Cultivating a mindset to appreciate the little things can go a long way in leading a more fulfilling life.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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