He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
How many possessions do you own? Probably well over 50
What routines do you follow? So many I’ve lost track
Which people do you see every single day? Too many
Do you remember what it was like the first time you experienced each of these things, routines, and people? Kind of
Do they still give you the same level of joy today that they provided in the early days? Not really…
Unless you already possess extremely high levels of gratitude, there is a good chance many of these once unique things, no longer provide you with the same levels of pleasure that they once did. Even something like driving, which was once a privilege, now has become an inconvenience. Sipping on your coffee used to make your morning special, now it’s just something you drink so you can survive. Spending time with teammates used to be the best part of your day, now you can’t wait to get away from them.
We all have things, experiences, and people in our lives that we take for granted. After encountering them day after day, their novelty has begun to wear off and now they have just become part of the routine.
They have become “part of life”.
To avoid the trap of becoming ungrateful for the privileges and unique qualities of our lives, we should do two things:
1) Practice Gratitude
This is something I’ve mentioned in the past, but I’ll mention it again because most people need to hear it twice. The list of reasons for why you should take the time to practice being grateful is quite extensive, but I’ll list just a few of them below:
- It leaves you open to new and better relationships
- Boosts physical health and encourages you to take care of your body
- Reduces emotions like envy, frustration, and regret
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression towards others
So how do you practice gratitude? Great question!
Every morning write down 3 things that you are grateful for. Try to focus on something personal, someone close to you, and something worldly that is beyond your control.
I am grateful for my intense work ethic
I am grateful for my coach’s insights
I am grateful that my country allows women to play sports
I have even created a template for you to use which you can get by clicking HERE.
My final thought on practicing gratitude is this: Don’t simply “phone it in”. In other words, don’t treat this practice as something to check off the list and get done. Focus on what you are thinking about and let gratitude actually take over. Are you reeeeaallly grateful for the thing you wrote down?
You have a lot more to be grateful for than you think. Just the mere fact that you are reading this means you have a smartphone or computer. A large percentage of the world’s population cannot even say that much. Did you access this through Facebook? Some countries don’t even allow citizens to access Facebook.
2) Intermittent Deprivation
The second thing we can do is to practice something called Intermittent Deprivation. That may sound intense, but it’s not so bad and the task is really simple.
Pick one of those things from earlier that you have, do, or experience every single day which no longer gives the joy or fulfillment it once did. Whatever you choose, deprive yourself of it for 3 days. After those 3 days bring it back into your life and savor the experience.
By using this practice, you will start to remember the joy that this thing once brought you and actually enjoy it instead of simply having it without thought.
For this week’s challenge, (1) start a daily gratitude practice and (2) pick something that you want to test out with intermittent deprivation.
If you are feeling adventurous and it actually works for your lifestyle, try not speaking to a single person for the next 72 hours. It can truly change the way you value the people and relationships in your day to day life.