The title of this article is a quote that I posted on social media a few
days ago. Of course, a lot of people who’ve had migraines and hangovers related
to it instantly. But also, people who’ve gone through some kind of pain.
Physical or mental pain. Or even people who’ve gone through some sort of
difficult period in their lives resonated with the idea.
There’s something about pain and discomfort and illness and all sorts of
ailments that makes you have a bad time but also makes you really sensitive to
noticing and appreciating the relief when you start feeling better. We all feel
horrible when we’re having a hangover but feel relieved when our head is clear
after that. We feel sick when we’re down with a fever but feel a sense of
comfort and strength when our body’s getting back to normal after that. This
unfortunately is short lived and once our bodies are back in form, we start
taking it for granted. By that, I don’t necessarily mean misusing it or abusing
it, though a lot of people are also great at doing that. I mean the strange
attitude that what’s readily available or what’s always there loses its novelty
and becomes unimpressive. It’s importance and value fades into the backdrops of
Now, it’s all fine and dandy to say, you have to be in a constant state of
gratitude, count your blessings, appreciate what you have, what you focus on
expands, etc. Though every one of these clichés is a lot harder to practice and
bring into life. But here’s something simple, something brief and yet
practical. Spend five minutes every day to notice and appreciate what’s going
well in your body and mind. Set an alarm for a specific time every day when
you’re likely to be free for just five minutes. Here’s what you might want to
do when that alarm goes off. Just become aware of where you are. Then, gently
scan your head. By that I mean, just check how it feels. If it feels clear and
nice, take a few seconds to keep noticing it and appreciate that good feeling.
If you like, tell yourself something to the effect of, “wow! that feels good”
or “It’s just awesome that my head feels clear and fresh” or “I’m glad my
head’s feeling nice right now”, and really feel it. You can then do this with
your stomach, your back, your shoulders, legs, arms and the rest of your body.
Now it is likely that one day when that alarm goes off, you happen to be having
a stiff neck. That’s alright. Just spend five minutes noticing the rest of your
body that’s doing fine. In fact, you could even walk around and experience how
good various other parts of your body feel. You can think about your close
friends and family and about how they’re doing. If they’re all doing fine, then
there’s real reason to celebrate. Think about how you slept last night. If
there was nothing really bothering you and you slept well last night then you
should be grateful for that. Try this. Rate your current level of happiness on
a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being low and 10 being high. If you’re feeling anything
that’s a 5 or more, you should be celebrating. Because people who have some
serious problems probably feel like they’re at a -5 or a -10. All these are
just ideas. There are no specific rules. The goal is just to spend at least
five minutes becoming aware of and appreciating the good parts of your body,
you mind and your life in general.
Finally, in case you didn’t realize. This is a direct application of
positive psychology. This is gratitude and how gratitude looks like in practice
or in action. Over time, you can extend this to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or keep
doing it for as long as you like.