How Can We Appreciate Life More?

After last week’s question addressed death, this week we want to ask about the reverse: how to get the most out of our lives. A key part of being happy is to appreciate the pleasures and the joys of life.

In one respect, this should be easy, since there is so much of which to be appreciative. We live in a golden age, with greater knowledge about ourselves, about the universe, and about the world than we have ever had, as well as having increased ease of access to that information. In addition, we can travel just about anywhere in the world we might want to go, and food and goods from anywhere in the world can be delivered to our doorstep.

While money is important to be able to access these and other benefits of our society and income inequality continues to increase, it’s also true that more people across the world have been lifted out of poverty than at any time in human history.

On the other hand, it’s hard to appreciate what we have when we see all that we don’t. It is human nature to be constantly trying to improve our circumstance in the world, and that means identifying life’s deficiencies and striving to overcome them.

On top of that, it seems like we are surrounded with negativity. The ever-increasingly interconnected world means problems from other places take on greater significance at home. If news coverage is always focused on the problems of the country or the world, from natural disasters to war and political unrest, it can be very difficult to be optimistic about your life.

And yet, it is important for our own mental health, as individuals as well as collectively as a society, that we appreciate what we have. How can we do that, without losing sight of those less fortunate? How can we appreciate what we have without feeling guilty when there are people who don’t have what we have? How can we overcome the negative environment that surrounds us?

How can we appreciate life more? How can we focus on what we have and not on what we don’t?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life?What is the purpose of money?How can we maintain wonder?What does it mean to be thankful?What was the best time in your life?

What Material Possession Means The Most To You?

Of all the things you own, which one can’t you live without?

Share why if you wish.

Lee’s Answer: my bicycle. It’s transportation, recreation, gym club membership, a social network, and a mediation class all in one, and it allows me to feel like I’m doing my part to reduce my carbon footprint!

Michael’s Answer: my laptop.  Writing/Journaling, viewing my garden and travel photos on my amazing laptop screen, and listening to music are very therapeutic for me.

What Was The Best Time In Your Life?

Life is full of ups and downs. When things are going well, it can seem easy and you can feel fulfilled. When it is not, it can feel empty and meaningless.

If you look back on the high points, are there elements in common?

What was the best time in your life? And what does “best” mean to you?

Related questions: How do you define success? How can we maintain wonder? Why do we put up with unhappiness? What makes you the happiest?

What Makes You The Happiest?

Understanding your own happiness is important. Knowing what has made you happy in the past can help you steer your life toward similar experiences in the future. Often, though, there is a disparity in what we think will make us happy and what actually does.

What puts the biggest smile on your face? What makes you the happiest?

Related questions: What makes you the unhappiest? Is happiness the most important purpose in life? Why do we put up with unhappiness? Why don’t we know what makes us happy?

Why Do We Give Gifts?

Giving someone gifts, whether it happens to be for a special occasion like a holiday or a birthday, or at a random time for no particular event, is a show of affection and also a show of materialism. Why are these two linked? Why is it necessary to give a thing to someone?

Why do we give gifts?

Related questions: Why do we like to receive gifts? What are our responsibilities to others? Why do we feel the need to belong? How can we maintain wonder?