Over the weekend, I decided to relax and simply watch a movie on television. I noticed the movie, ‘Big’ was on and I knew this would be a movie I could watch anytime. As I was watching this movie, I realized how important appreciation is and how it can have a major impact on our personal views and thoughts towards our life, things in our life, and our life situations. In this movie, the young boy is unhappy simply “being a child” and makes a wish to become an adult. His wish comes true and he realizes how much he misses being with his family and being a child, so he is able to make a wish to reverse his previous wish. This displayed how our level of appreciate can make us feel negative about our life, but we must remember how important it is to appreciate every aspect of our life.
Let’s discuss what appreciation is and what is means to be appreciative. Appreciation is defined as the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. There are a lot of times in our life where we can only see the negative in a situation, but it is important to take the time to process our thoughts to have a positive outlook.
If you practice appreciation daily, you can increase your overall life satisfaction. When you practice appreciation, you are acknowledging the worth and significance of someone and/or something. The act of appreciating enhances positive emotions and thoughts. So, if you want to improve your own emotional well-being and live a more blissful and positive lifestyle; start practicing appreciation. According to psychologists Mitchel Adler and Nancy Fagley, appreciation is acceptance of the worth and significance of a person, place, or thing, and the positive emotions that are attached to that acceptance.
How to Practice Appreciation to Increase Life Satisfaction
While we tend to think of appreciation as simply being thankful, Adler and Fagley claim that there are in fact eight aspects of appreciation, all of which enhance emotional well-being.
· Focus- concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t have. What you have may include real things, like your family, or abstract concepts, like love.
· Awe – foster a sense of wonder in the world. Connect to something greater than yourself like nature or a higher power.
· Ritual -Develop life-affirming rituals (a routine) that help you practice appreciation. Meditation and journaling are examples of rituals that help you develop appreciation.
· The present moment – Savor the present moment. Instead of focusing on the past or the future, be present right now.
· Self-comparison – make time to reflect on difficulties you e experienced. This will help you appreciate how good things are now.
· Gratitude – give thanks for the good things in your life. Think, write, or speak your thanks.
· Adversity – recognize when times are hard. This will make you less likely to take easy times for granted.
· Interpersonal – acknowledge the people with whom you are connected, those who love and support you. Build your personal connections. Incorporating these eight aspects into your life can contribute to overall life satisfaction. Expressing appreciation increases the chance you will receive it. Beyond what it does for relationships, research has shown that appreciation and gratitude also improves personal happiness and overall health.
So, let’s begin to appreciate every aspect of our life…Beginning today!!
~Monretta Vega, LPC