By answering these questions, you can look more deeply at the challenges in your life and realize some things happen to propel our growth and expansion. Putting more attention on wanting what we already have, we can create a deep sense of peace and joy in our lives, which -- more than most specific outcomes or material possessions -- is what most of us truly want anyway.
In his book "How to Want What You Have," psychologist Tim Miller has come up with three principles to help break the habit of wanting more:
I found expansions of these principles on the website www.thebridgemaker.com. Living with compassion allows us to open up our hearts -- gaining the clarity to see what we have right before us.
Attention is a state of mindfulness that helps us soak in what's happening right now. There's no question there are many distractions vying for our attention. We can become lost in checking e-mail, watching television or decompressing from a stressful day. Over time, we find ourselves disconnected from what -- and who -- is most important to us. Slowly, we turn into a human doing and away from a human being.
We can take steps to reverse this tide, however. Pay closer attention to what's going on around you. Appreciate a hug, take in the wonder of nature, or make direct eye contact with those in conversations with you.
Gratitude isn't just a kind gesture. It's a state of mind and a way of life. What keeps most of us from showing gratitude is when we want more than what we have. To learn the power of gratitude, practice genuinely saying "thank you" more often. By blessing others with gratitude, something amazing happens: We become blessed too. In those blessings, we can find the peace to be grateful for what we have right now.
"Simply having a bunch of things is not the key to happiness," says psychologist Jeff Larsen, citing his research study in Psychological Science: "Our data shows you also need to appreciate those things you have."
Miller reminds us in his book that if we want to want what we have, we've got to work hard at it by developing new habits. Just think about the return on that investment though!
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.