5 Tricks to Avoid Taking Your Life For Granted
Life is a funny thing. Intellectually we all know it’s precious. We know that it’s short and there’s much to do while we’re here. But at the same time, as we get busy, we often fall into the daily grind and start to take it for granted. It’s easy to do and it often takes a reality check to realize that you're doing it.
You’ll never look back when you’re 70 and wish you’d spent less time with your family and more time at the office. But even still, work and responsibilities often get in the way of what really matters.
Practice these tricks everyday to live life to the fullest:
1. Choose Mindful Exercise
Working out is great but it shouldn’t be an opportunity to chew on your thoughts and run through your to-do list. It’s much more important that your workout is mindful. Yoga, T’ai Chi, and Chi Running are all great examples of exercise where the focus is being in the moment and following your breath. Being mindful is something that needs to be practiced everyday so it’s best to make it a part of your exercise routine.
2. Make a Gratitude List
Start your day by naming at least a few things that you’re grateful for in your life. It doesn’t matter what they are but it reminds us that even if things aren’t exactly where we want them to be right now, there’s a lot in our lives for which we are thankful.
3. Spice Up Your Weekly Routine
Choose one or two activities to try every month. Consider an activity that’s out of your normal comfort zone like a ball room dancing class or a comedy show. Consider a new activity like paddle boarding, Zumba, or a wine tasting class. It’s good to have a routine, but it’s also good to step outside of it once in a while.
Learning to live mindfully comes with meditation. Meditation teaches you to follow your breath or a mantra and stay focused on it rather than being absorbed in the distractions that surround you. Take a few minutes in the morning before work to sit quietly and become absorbed in the moment.
5. Give to Others
A good way to avoid taking what you have for granted is to help others. It’s an easy way to remind you of what you have. Stephen G. Post wrote The Hidden Gifts of Helping, which highlighted how generosity produced a number of both physical and mental benefits. Giving didn’t have to be in the form of a gift, it could be helping your fellow man or giving to charities. Post wrote that the act of thinking about giving activates the mesolimbic pathway or the brain’s reward center. This is the place where dopamine is regulated. It also activates the ventral striatum, the part of the brain responsible for satisfaction.