Cultivating Gratitude and Contentment

So often I find myself fantasizing about the the past or the future and all the ways it could have been different, imagining beautifully-orchestrated, stage-worthy scenes that play(ed) out without a single hitch, all according to my personal wants and desires. 

Scenes with breaktaking views and really good food and friends who want to hang out whenever I want them to and perfect family dynamics and a handsome man who takes me on really fun dates and a perfect wardrobe hanging in my closet and maybe even perfect argument last-words (ouch).

But real life isn't a movie set. It's messy. 

And we don't always get what we want.

I'm [slowly] learning that I can either use those moments to see only despair and what I don't have, or that I can drop the fantasy and develop more gratitude and contentment for what I do have. And I usually find that when I let go of the fairytale and embrace real life, what I do have is actually pretty good.

It's all a matter of choosing the right lens to look through.

So how can we get intentional about adjusting our focus? Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Keep a gratitude journal and make a point to regularly list things that you're thankful for.

  • Take fairytale thoughts captive whenever they pop up and pray to shift your mindset.

  • Take and print photos of the people, places, and moments you treasure most in your life. (Being a part of The Beholder has taught me SO much about the link between photography and gratefulness.) 
  • Intentionally spend time with the people or participate in the events you're blessed to have in your life, and soak it all in for a day to reset your heart.

What are your favorite ways to cultivate gratitude and contentment in your own life? Leave your best recommendations below.