Appreciate The Good Times

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What happens to a lot of us is that while the good times are happening we take them for granted, as a baseline state of normal, as simply the way things are. It’s only in retrospect that we look back with nostalgia, wondering how we didn’t appreciate how good we had it.

This state of affairs is probably due to the fact that, psychologically speaking, we organize our lives around the idea of permanence. Theoretically we know that change is inevitable but impermanence is just too painful, the thought of loss and death too scary, and so for all intents and purposes we live in a reality where the laws of change don’t apply to us.

How can we alter our perceptions in order to increase gratitude and happiness during the good times? One way is to look for things we find aversive. If there’s nothing much aversive about our current situation we can take this as a very good sign.

Thich Nhat Hanh would call what we are talking about transforming neutral emotions. Whatever you want to call it, the absence of unpleasant stimuli is as much of a sign that things are good as is the presence of pleasant stimuli. Recognizing this fact can help you realize that you are smack dab in the middle of the good times, which will immediately increase your gratitude and happiness. They aren’t going to stay around forever but you can grab onto them and appreciate them while they are around instead of letting them pass you by without a second thought.