How to Learn the Art of Appreciating
the Little Things in Life
You live in paradise but you just don’t realize it.
- Muktananda, founder of Siddha Yoga.
We all have so many blessings in our lives.
And yet most of the time we fail to notice them. We don't recognize them properly, forget them, or simply take them for granted.
We lose sight of them, and that's a critical mistake.
In reality, these little things have a huge impact on our lives. That's why we should learn to recognize their value.
Here's a complete guide to learning the art of appreciating the little things in life.
But wait, what does that mean?
Appreciating the little things in life means that you focus your attention on what nurtures and sustains you in life. On everything that brings you even the smallest amount of pleasure.
It also means practicing gratitude by noticing these everyday things that you take for granted so easily.
By appreciating small things in life, you won't stop bad stuff from happening. But you'll learn how to stop emphasizing the meaning of bad events to your life.
Consequently, you'll find a valuable source of mental balance.
Why Develop the Skill of Gratefulness?
Skills in experiencing and expressing gratitude are key for connecting with other people.
Once you take a moment to appreciate an act of kindness coming from someone you love or a person you don't even know, you'll become more aware of your belonging to a community of people who care about each other.
Reciprocating these actions only helps to strengthen these social bonds. They create a resource on which you can draw in times of need.
This type of positive emotion has been linked to physical health as well.
A positive mindset helps your immune system and speeds up recovery time.
Positive emotions also help us to be more creative and resourceful.
Resilient people build their strengths on positive emotions. These emotions simply help them to cope with difficult situations.
By learning how to appreciate the little things in life, you'll be able to enhance the presence of positive emotions in your life and reap the benefit.
Here's how to Incorporate Gratitude into Your Routine
a) Keep a gratitude journal
It's worth keeping a gratitude journal.
Research shows that individuals who have such journals for recording daily blessings have a more optimistic view of their lives, experience more positive mood, and even exercise more.
Spend 10 or 15 minutes each day on writing down things for which you feel grateful. That's how you can boost your appreciation for the little things that you normally ignore.
b) Create a bulletin board
This is where you can put up small reminders of things that make you feel grateful. It can be anything from a thank-you note from a client to a handwritten letter from a friend.
At the end of the year, take all of these down and file them in a special gratitude folder so you can have a look at your year at any time to see how blessed you are.
c) Celebrate the little things
Give yourself permission to do that. Here's how you can celebrate your small wins in life:
- Celebrate good weather by taking out a friend and going for a walk;
- When someone around you masters a new skill, give them a small present to celebrate their achievement;
- Celebrate getting through a daunting task with doing something you enjoy, or by buying yourself a treat.
d) Send one email of gratitude a day
Make it a habit to send out one thank-you email to someone every single day. It doesn't have to be more than one sentence.
You'll see the power of his act when your relationships change for the better and your social life becomes more rewarding.
e) Slow down your life
When you're in the middle of an amazing event, it's important that you savor it as much as you can.
Here are some smart ways to help you get the most out of these positive emotions:
- Keep a meaningful souvenir of the experience to help yourself recall the memory later on;
- Enter into the positive experience with all your senses;
- Keep an eye on details;
- Share this experience with others – as it happens, or by reminiscing later on.
f) Be present
Choose to be present in the now. This type of consciousness of the moment – sometimes called mindfulness – is critical to generating positive emotions that come with gratitude.
When you're living with more awareness, you notice everything – even the little pieces of everyday beauty.
You can appreciate the present moment by using past personal challenges. Instead of dwelling on negative emotions, recall them and you're bound to see how things are better now.
g) Be aware of your most valued things
Imagine that someone asks you about the most important things in life. You need to have a clear answer to this question. If you don't, it's a sign that you're out of touch with yourself.
Connect to what's important to you and don't put it off until life gets less busy. Trust me, it never does.
h) Fall asleep with gratitude
Ideally, you should wake up and go to bed with gratitude at the forefront of your mind.
Starting and finishing your day with positive emotions helps to build a balanced life and gets you plenty of healthy sleep in the process.
If you're having trouble falling asleep at night, it's probably because your mind is still mulling over the stressful events of the day.
Instead of thinking about the things you need to do tomorrow, try to enter the gratitude mode at bedtime. Think about the beautiful things that happened to you on that day.
Did you notice how the snow cracked under your feet? Or maybe you've spotted a beautiful ray of sun filtered through the leaves of a tree?
Embrace that recollection as you drift off to sleep. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy to tackle the challenges of the day.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
This two-part guide is an easy-to-read summary of the essential skills you need for a healthy mind and body.
The first eBook, Looking After Yourself, covers some of our most popular content and will help you to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.
The second eBook, Living Well, Living Ethically, considers how you can live your best life all the time. It helps you to answer the question: how can I avoid having too many regrets about my life?
It's worth investing in the skill of being grateful.
Bringing more positivity to your life is a sure-fire method for boosting your mood, and keeping you in touch with everything that's important to you.
Let me finish with this revealing quote from the classic, Oprah: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
About the Author
Kate Thora is a senior content specialist. Her artistic soul manifests itself also in her love for singing and dancing, especially to traditional Indian music.