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A lot of the minimalist lifestyle lays in finding happiness with what you have. That may sound obvious, but the truth is, many of us are too guilty of imagining we’ll be happy if only x, y, and z happen. This post is going to address how to be happy with what you have.
If someone asked you if you are happy, right now, what would your answer be? Maybe you would say “yes, although I wish x and y were different…” or maybe you’d say “I would be happier if things were like z…”.
While it’s not a bad thing to have goals and ambitions for your future, it is possible to be both content and happy with what you have while also looking forwards to growth and development in the future.
13 ways appreciate more & be happy with what you have
1. Ask: do you actually want more or do you think you should want more?
Are you unhappy with your life because there is a hole that needs filling, or because there are certain things you think you should have?
Our cultures are all ingrained with expectations placed on us by previous generations, and it can be frustratingly difficult to de-tangle the things you want and that will make you happy with the things you are taught are milestones of success.
2. Change your mindset
Changing your mindset can be an extremely powerful practice. When you realize that you are in control of your world and how you see it, you start to appreciate the things that you already have.
How to change your mindset? Read, expand your horizons, challenge yourself, try new things, practice healthy habits consistently. I’ve got a post about creating a minimalist mindset that might help you get started.
3. Appreciate the small things
Learn to be grateful for the small things. A hot cup of coffee and a sunny morning. The ability to have fresh, clean sheets on your bed every week. Your body. A friendly gesture from a stranger. The unspoken love of your family and friends. The joy your pets give you. Having a roof over your head. Limitless clean, running water.
4. Practice Gratitude
Along the same lines, get into the habit of being grateful for what you have in your life. Some people do this by writing out a gratitude list at the end of the day, in yoga I like to close my practice by taking a moment to be thankful for some things in my life, but you could also just make a mental note of what you’re grateful for.
Next time you’re feeling low and discontent with the way your life is looking right now, take a pause and list off a handful of things you’re grateful for. You might be surprised at how easy it is for that list to grow once you start.
5. Be patient
Being happy with what you have is a lot more difficult when you’re seeing instant gratification every time you want something. Learn to be patient – from building deep, meaningful connections with people, to buying something you’ve got your eye on (there’s never any harm in biding your time for a good deal!), to getting your life exactly where you want it to be.
Being happy with what you have doesn’t have to mean letting go of goals and ambitions – but you can find a way to be content now and patient for your future achievements.
6. Know yourself
The happiest people are the one’s who know exactly who they are and what they want, and are completely unapologetic about it.
If you don’t really know what you want out of your life, what your morals and ethics are, and who you want to be in this world, you’re going to struggle being happy with what you have – because you won’t really know if it is what you want.
Make an effort to get to know yourself. You could journal about your dreams, goals, and ambitions, the things that are most important to you and the type of person you want to be seen as. What do you want to be remembered for? Where are you happiest? How do you want to be known for treating others? You are the one constant in your own life, so you may as well get to know yourself as best as possible.
7. Find a routine that works for you
There really is power in a healthy, productive morning routine. The key is finding a routine that works for you – whether you’re an early riser and most value an extra 30 minutes of sleep, or if you feel most productive waking with the dawn.
A good morning routine that sets you up for the day could be something like:
- Wake up and drink a glass of water
- Do 30 minutes of exercise/yoga/something that gets you moving!
- Go for a short walk outside and get some fresh air
- Come home, shower, get dressed
- Make a healthy breakfast and have a cup of coffee
8. Do a digital detox frequently and ruthlessly
Social media is one of the biggest culprits that cause us to compare our lives to others and find ourselves lacking. Doing a digital detox can be a really effective way of showing you that actually, life ain’t so bad.
Everyone knows that social media is a highlight reel – that no one is posting pictures of themselves feeling low, or on those Friday nights in wearing their PJs and binging reality TV. Even though everyone has those nights (and let’s face it – would often pick a cozy night in instead of hitting a crowded bar with sticky floors), social media shows us tanned, skinny bodies with full faces of make up. It shows us people surrounded by friends. Travelling to hot and sunny places with endless positivity, ‘good vibes’ and no worries.
There are not many people who will have a detox from social media and return saying they felt worse for not logging in.
9. Don’t live for the weekends
Life is not meant to be lived in misery and stress for five days, only to try to pack in as much fun and excitement as you can into two days before returning to the same cycle over and over again. Stop living for the weekends and start making the most of every single day.
Even if you work 9 – 5 pm, there are still plenty of hours in the day to make some time for the things that bring you joy – it might be difficult to fit those things in at first, but it’s a matter of building that habit were you prioritize your happiness to the point where it’s natural to fill your days with activities rather than saving it all up for two days a week.
10. Make money to live, don’t live to make money
Your money should be a means to make your ideal lifestyle possible. If you are so focused on making money that you don’t actually have any time for the things you’d like to do, this is a major red flag that you might be letting the wrong things drive you.
Sure, a high income is great and gives you a lot of security. But, is it really worth it if you are stressed, working 10 hour plus days, and have zero time for your friends, family, hobbies, or even for yourself?
Find a balance between making a living, and also actually, you know, living!
11. Declutter – live with less
There is nothing better for appreciating what you have when you adopt a more minimalist approach to life and actively find the enjoyment in living with less.
Decluttering your home is more than just making space you didn’t have before: it’s a visual show of the things you need compared to the things you don’t.
Decluttering & minimalism articles:
– The S.C.A.T.T.E.R. Declutter Method: The Ultimate 7-Step Guide For Organizing Your Home
– How to Declutter Your Wardrobe & Create a Capsule Wardrobe
– How to Declutter: Where to Start & What to do with Your Unwanted Clutter
– 10 Simple Ways to Get Started with Minimalism
12. Focus on experiences and not possessions
Possessions come and go, but memories can last a lifetime. When thinking about what you want in life, shift your mindset to begin focusing on experiences you can have rather than things you can buy.
Think of it like this: what are you going to remember more fondly: the gift a loved one bought you for one birthday, or a thoughtful and epic day out together?
13. Surround yourself with positive people
Surround yourself with people who lift you up. People who support you, make you feel secure and loved, and don’t leave you feeling drained or questioning yourself.
If you are around people who aren’t content with their lot (and are negative about this all the time..!), it’s not going to be very is to be happy with what you have. Instead, find a tribe of friends who inspire you, support you, and whose perspectives align with your own.
14. Build healthy habits
Healthy, consistent habits can be the key to unlocking a more content attitude towards your life. What ‘good’ habits do you tend to let slip if you’re not paying them attention?
You could focus on building a habit to work out regularly, to creating a better spending and budgeting habit, to focusing on a simple but healthy meal plan.
Ultimately, being happy with what you have lies in your mindset. If you are constantly seeking gratification from external sources – from people, possessions, and projections of the future – you can easily forget to be grateful for the present.
Train yourself to take a pause every time you find yourself wishing for things to be different and feel miserable with your lot and ask yourself, what am I thankful for – right now?