Do you ever wonder why it sometimes feels so hard to “stop and smell the roses” on the pathway of life? People often find themselves wishing for the next chapter in life to begin, without taking time to savor what they DO have, and what is currently going on. For example, many people often tell themselves, that life will be better when “I have more free time,” “We have more money,” or even “when our children grow up and move out.” Rarely do we take the time to look at what is currently going on and appreciate it. Instead of spending time focusing on what we DON’T have and what we wish for, it’s time to focus on what we DO have, and to be grateful for today. This can help us better appreciate our spouses and ourselves. Here are some tips to help you accomplish just that:
Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. If you find yourself starting to think those wishful thoughts, stop yourself. Interrupt yourself and replace your usual “when I…” with “right now.” Instead of saying “when I have more money,” for example, say “with the money I have now, I can….” This allows you to not only focus on the present, but to stay positive.
Count your blessings. All of them. Go on; make a list of everything that you appreciate in your life at this moment. This will allow you to see, on paper, how much you DO have.
Appreciate the little things. Maybe your husband takes the trash out without you having to ask him. Maybe there was no traffic on the way to work today. Or maybe your mother-in-law gave you a compliment. Whatever it is, take time to acknowledge the little things day to day. You may even want to acknowledge these out loud. Tell your husband, “Thank you” for taking the trash out, and tell him you appreciate it. This will not only help you feel positive, but will make him feel good too.
Journal. Journaling is often a therapist’s go-to advice. It can be one of your best tools. There is just something about being able to get all your thoughts and feelings out on paper. It’s kind of a release. If you’re feeling down, and counting the days until the next chapter in life starts, take the time to write it out, letting go of all those pent up emotions and aggravation.
Make a list. Write down everything you want to accomplish in life. Write down your goals, your hopes, your dreams, and desires. Write down big things (travel to Europe), and small things (take the dog on a walk at least 3 times a week). Keep this somewhere within easy access, and when you have accomplished something, cross it off the list. Also, add to it from time to time. This will help you see (once again, the visual, concrete image) that you ARE achieving your goals.
Breathe. When you start feeling overwhelmed, or like life will never be the way you want it…take a deep breath. Close your eyes, and think about what life was like a year ago. Three years ago. Five years ago. Think about how far you’ve come. Tell yourself that you will get to the place you want to be. It just takes time.