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Learn & Practice

Tuesday Tip: How to Appreciate

By The Healthy Minds Team

In this week’s Tuesday Well-Being Tip, develop the skill of appreciation, even when times are hard.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

All February, Healthy Minds Innovations has been focusing on the Connection pillar within the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being. Connection is all about cultivating healthy relationships – both with yourself, your close circle and the world. A key skill within this pillar is Appreciation. 

Appreciation can be challenging if it feels like life keeps kicking you when you’re down. It is really hard to notice anything else when even small inconveniences start to add up.

But with appreciation, we can train our minds to notice the positive. 

Our founder, Dr. Richard Davidson, gives some insight into appreciation in the Healthy Minds Program App:

There’s some very interesting work on how often we experience different kinds of emotions…studies of thousands and thousands of people. Contrary to what we usually think, positive emotions like compassion and gratitude are much more frequent than negative emotions. The average person experiences roughly three times more positive emotions than negative ones. Positive interactions and positive feelings are the norm. We just tend to remember challenging experiences because they stand out.

Dr. Richard Davidson

It’s hard to believe, right? The reality is, these little positives throughout our day certainly aren’t world-changing events – but if we choose to notice them, a natural sense of appreciation and even gratitude begins to well up. It changes the way we view our lives. These little moments add up to an even more positive outlook, including how we view ourselves and other people.

All of this makes it easier to say kind things, to do kind things, and to engage other people in a way that makes them feel good. And that will make them more likely to feel good about interacting with you. It becomes a positive feedback loop. We appreciate and feel kindness towards others. They feel it and it gets passed on.

The world is not perfectly predictable. There are moments when a kind word might be met with annoyance, but when we appreciate others, that appreciation gets mirrored back to us. It feels good and it feels good to others.

Your Tuesday Tip is to make an intention to practice extending a positive outlook toward others this week. Begin by noticing the small, little things that often go unnoticed – moments when somebody shows up on time for a meeting, or you see the beauty in a sunrise, or your neighbor shovels your sidewalk. Just pause, and notice when these small moments happen.

In this 10 minute meditation, get a head start. You can practice this skill, and create a burst of good feelings to set the stage for healthier relationships. Then bring it into your daily life. Good luck.

Get more practices and tips by downloading the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps.

Healthy Minds Program App Tuesday Tips Well-Being Tips