Year of Wellbeing

The secret to beating dissatisfaction

Struggling with dissatisfaction from time to time? Modern life can leave us feeling dissatisfied often. Here is what you can do about it.
A sad pug at home struggling with dissatisfaction.
Modern life can leave us all feeling down and dissatisfied from time to time.

Modern life often leave us feeling dissatisfaction, it makes us look inwards and constantly consider the things we don’t have. You might feel you don’t have your dream job, or that you are not doing as many exciting things as you see others doing online, or that you don’t have enough friends. All of these things can leave us dissatisfied.

But there is evidence to show that we can counter these feelings of dissatisfaction by practising gratitude. Gratitude can mean very different things to different people. You can feel grateful for someone who did something for you or random events like the weather.

Your brain is wired to recognise when someone has done something nice for you. It reacts with gratitude to motivate you to repay others. This gratitude makes you care about others, and others care about you. Also, feeling gratitude makes it easier to save and retrieve positive memories and counteract negative feelings like envy and cynicism. So, people who are grateful, no matter what for, tend to be happier and more satisfied. In the best case, gratitude can trigger a positive feedback loop.

Several studies have tried to work out how gratitude can be used to lead to more happiness. The best way is to keep a gratitude diary.

How to keep a gratitude diary

A diary and a pencil lying on a desk.
Start recording a gratitude diary to improve how you feel.

The most straightforward gratitude exercise is to keep a gratitude diary. Sit down for a few minutes and write down five to 10 things you’re grateful for. Schedule some regular time for you to do this one to three times a week.

Keeping a gratitude diary might feel odd at first, so start simple. Can you feel grateful for a little thing like how great coffee is or that someone was kind to you? Or can you appreciate something someone else did for you? Could you reflect on which things or people you would miss if they were gone, and be grateful that they’re in your life? We’re all different, so you’ll know what works for you.

Be specific

When practising gratitude, it is vital to be specific. “I’m grateful that my co-workers brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” will be more effective than “I’m grateful for my co-workers.”

Record surprises

Someone holding a bunch of flowers they have been given.
A bunch of flowers can be a lovely surprise. Make sure you acknowledge it.

Take a note of unexpected events that surprise you, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.

Think about how things could be different

Consider what your life would be like without certain people or things in it as well as writing down all the new good stuff. Be grateful for the negative situations you have avoided. The idea is not to take the good fortune you already have for granted.

Don’t overdo it

Evidence suggests that writing occasionally is more beneficial than every day.

Share your gratitude with others

Two people sitting on a bench laughing and talking together.
Share your gratitude with others like your friends, partners and family.

Research has found that expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships. Take some time to tell your partner, friend or family member about something they do that you appreciate. Be sure to let them know!

This is not about positive thinking

Practising gratitude is not about ignoring the bad things that happen. It’s about trying to acknowledge the good things that happen.

In fact, remembering bad situations can help you to acknowledge your current situation. It might give you perspective on how far you have come or how your situation has changed for the better.

Give it a go

Practicing gratitude can be an awkward thing to do as we all find it easier to focus on the negatives.

Hopefully, the examples in this email will help you to start your own gratitude diary and allow you to switch your thought processes and to look at what you have.

A grateful pug, happy to be out on a walk.
A grateful pug, happy to be out on a walk.

Want to know more about improving how you feel?

We have lots more tips and information to share with you that can help improve how you feel.

Join our Year of Wellbeing and make a pledge to improve your wellbeing this year and we will email you with tips and information you easily can put into practice.

This is your time to feel healthier and happier – join the year of wellbeing today.

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