This article is about a reflection on how to be grateful for what we have and learn to value what we have. Some people live so fast and are so little aware of their privileged situation that they forget to feel grateful for the luck of being born in a certain situation and place.
How to Be Grateful for what you have
There are millions of people in the world living in extreme poverty. Many live in the streets and spend days without food.
However, many people living in the Western world, with wealth, great opportunities and many comforts, do not appreciate what they have.
- The world’s poorest children are 2.7 times less likely to have the presence of a qualified professional at birth.
- 1300 million poor people in the world.
- The 20 poorest countries in the world are in the African continent, headed by Rwanda, Guinea, Benin, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, and Chad.
- More than 60% of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition.
- A male child born in 2012 in a high-income country can be expected to live to the age of about 76, which is 16 years longer than a male child in a low-income country (60 years).
Meditate on the beauty of life. Look at the stars, and look at yourself running with them, Marcus Aurelius.
The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times – by Zing Ziegler.
The tendency not to value
The human being is an animal of routines and especially the western world, have a tendency to forget and not appreciate the value of their health and wealth. I do not mean multimillionaire people; just that you have a salary of more than 600 Euros and it is considerably more than the 1300 million people who live with 1 dollar or less a day.
However, this tendency changes when you lose something valuable that you had (although until the moment of the loss is not aware of its value): when a relative dies, when we lose work, home, health…
For example, a psychologist friend recently commented on the case of a woman with enough money who had had a traumatic accident. From that moment, and at the age of 60, he began to realize his fate and now his greatest pleasure is to sit and watch people and landscapes.
This tendency is related to our capacity of adaptation and habituation to diverse vital situations. It is said that people get used quickly to good but very slowly to bad. For example, we get used to working, to live in a house with all the comforts, to the family…
In fact, having a quick adaptive capacity is very positive. For example, if you travel to a foreign country to work, it will be a great advantage to adapt quickly to new situations.
So what is the problem?
Instead of complaining about what is wrong, be thankful for what is right.-Joel Osteen.
The problem is that comfortable situations, such as having a job, a house, couple, family, are never forever and also, not being aware of it makes you unappreciated, which in turn prevents you from being happy.
These ideal situations always end in some occasion: some family member dies, the house is lost, the work is lost, the same income is not obtained, it breaks with the couple … Therefore, and it is advisable to enjoy everything possible of them.
Why is it so hard to be grateful?
According to research in Positive Psychology, when something positive comes into our lives (for example a good job), we are glad, although that happiness lasts about three months.
Read about 8 Ways Modern Life Destroys Your Brain?
True gratitude is not an emotional experience to be automatically and simply being educated is not the same.
We currently live in a materialistic society in which one tends to believe that the more things one has, the better one is. This causes comparisons and forgets about everything we have – because we always want more.
Especially comparing yourself to others is quite a bad thing as it encourages envy, greed and forgets to experience gratitude because we do not focus on what we are and have.
Perhaps we need to teach more in schools to be truly grateful and not so much to say “thank you” without appreciating anything.
How to be more grateful
One way of overcoming habituation to our positive situations and being more grateful is by practicing appreciation or gratitude.
You can do it,
- Reflecting every day on all the positive things you have in your life.
- Write a list of all the things you can be grateful for.
- Practice meditation. Visit this article to learn about the benefits of meditation.
- Practice mindfulness. Visit this article to find out about mindfulness.
These last two-practicing meditation and mindfulness-will allow you to be more aware of your situation and enjoy the present moment. Your practice will prevent you from living the day as a routine in which you simply react and do not realize the moment in which you live.
Traveling to a poor country will allow you to realize and see the reality of your situation. I assure you that I will change the worldview – I have been in several poor countries myself. I would also tell you that this not only serves as a personal experience and ends there, but also encourages you to participate in socially responsible activities, such as volunteering.
Having volunteer experiences
In volunteering, you will first be bringing something of value to NGOs who need help, and in addition, comparing your reality with the reality of people who have real problems will surprise you and make you forget about minor problems.