Typically, the holiday season is hyper-focused on the concept of thankfulness. It can also be a time when we compare ourselves to the people around us and feel like we fall short. If you’re not quite merry about things in your life, you just might need to shift your point of view to find the fulfillment you seek.
You can guide yourself back into an attitude of fulfillment now or any time of year. You can always make positive changes in your life. You likely already have a lot of good things going for you. You just need to take a break to feel, hear, and see them.
Here are five ways to increase your feelings of fulfillment regarding what you already have in your life:
- Keep a thankfulness journal.
The word of the year for the past several years has been thankfulness. Having a thankfulness routine is a thing now. Thankfulness journals exist, and studies show how important thankfulness is for a happy life. When your level of fulfillment is feeling low, stop and take a look around you. Then start listing the things that are going well. Start with the most basic: you’re breathing, and you’re likely doing it with no assistance. That’s a huge blessing! Now keep going. Count the macro-blessings, like the furnace in your home that provides heat in winter, as well as the micro-blessings, like the juice in your refrigerator. Keep up this practice and you’ll soon be feeling happier because all of the things that you appreciate in your life will always be at the forefront of your mind.
- Stay focused on the positive.
There is almost always more than one way to look at each circumstance or situation you encounter. You could focus your thoughts on negative things that could happen in the future and the things that aren’t working right now. Or you could focus instead on the opportunities that are coming your way, what’s going right for you now, and the things that you’re thankful for. This involves ongoing choices you need to make from moment to moment: will I be positive or negative about life? You probably will not be jumping for joy if you get fired from your job, or your partner leaves you. But deciding to look for the upsides of challenges will help you find fulfillment.
- Live in the moment.
Being satisfied where you’re at involves staying grounded from moment to moment. Dwelling on the mistakes you made in the past obsessing over things that didn’t go your way, and worrying about the future will keep you in a continual state of anxiety. On the other hand, keeping your focus on the present will free you to feel the sense of contentment and peace that you crave.
- Cut down on social media consumption.
Comparing ourselves to others can easily lead to despair. Unfortunately, everyone has nearly constant access to the most effective comparison tools that have ever been invented: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media sites. Being content with what you have is a major challenge when you’re constantly reminded of the fun everyone is having without you, the opportunities they have that you don’t, and perfectly framed photos that showcase all of it. To help you shift the focus back where it belongs—onto you—try to cut down on the amount of time you spend on social media and scrolling through celebrity news.
- Consider the less fortunate.
If none of the steps above help, try walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes. Take a closer look at how you would feel if you didn’t have enough in your life, whether it’s shelter, money, or food. Volunteer and interact with people whose lives are harder than yours. This will quickly help you see that your problems likely pale in comparison. And when you see how appreciative and grateful people can be even though they have next to nothing, you’ll get the reminder you need that finding genuine fulfillment isn’t that difficult after all.