We all know that it is very easy for us to get stuck focusing on what we don't currently have and on what we wish we had, and to compare ourselves to others.
This is especially true in our modern world, where we are constantly bombarded with "perfect" images - human bodies, cars, houses, holidays, the list is endless.
Fundamentally, tapping into our insecurities and competitive desires helps advertisers to sell products, so they will continue to pedal this airbrushed "perfection" because it works to their advantage.
We cannot control this aspect of our society, however we can control our reaction to it.
Practicing gratitude for what we already have can help us to uplift our mental wellbeing and to break free of our insecurities and the endless "cycle of want".
So, how do we start to build practicing gratitude into our daily lives?
Starting small can help us to build up a habit gradually and stick to it, as it doesn't feel too overwhelming.
Find a notebook and pen and put it next to your bed. Every evening before you go to sleep, write down the date and five things that you have been grateful for that day.
At first you might not feel able to think of anything, that's perfectly natural. Again, start small, it could be that you're grateful for the cup of morning coffee your partner made for you, or for the smile that stranger gave you on the street.
Take a deep breath, bring yourself into the moment and the words will come. Even if it takes a while, be sure to be kind to yourself and encourage yourself.
Keep this up for at least two weeks and you'll start to see a difference in your attitude to gratitude. You'll be surprised at how quickly it becomes part of your routine.
Of course some days it will be easier than others, and if you miss a day then just get back to it the next. Reading back on what you've written, and remembering all of the little things by writing them down, will help you to focus on how much is good in your life.
If you can buddy up with a friend or family member and encourage each other to write your list, then that's all the better.
In the Moment
We can also start to practice gratitude in the moment, especially if we make the effort to stop and be more aware of our surroundings.
Let's take our morning shower for example, where we are often distracted and running through our to do lists for the day in our head.
When you're in the shower tomorrow morning, make a conscious effort to bring your mind into the present moment by using your senses.
Concentrate on the feel of the water on your skin and the sound of the water running, feel your fingertips massaging the shampoo into your scalp, breathe in the scent of your shower gel.
Once you have quietened the chatter of your thoughts in this way, think about one thing in your life that you are truly grateful for that comes to mind that day. Is it a relationship? A skill? A regular activity that you love to do?
Feel the warmth of the joy you experience when you think about this one thing you are grateful for spread throughout your body.
Try to practice gratitude in the moment as much as possible. I like to do it when I'm walking on Sliema promenade. I bring my mind into the present moment by focusing on the feel of the sun on my face and back, by gazing at our beautiful sea, and sometimes by hearing the ringing of church bells.
Walking in our lovely countryside is an ideal moment for this too. Other people have told me that doing it whilst swimming works well, as concentrating on the repetition of swimming lengths up and down, and on the feeling of gliding through water, is helpful to bring you into the present.
Have a look at some of our mindfulness and meditation classes on We Connect here for further advice on being peaceful and present in the moment.
"Comparison is the thief of joy" - President Theodore Roosevelt
This inspirational quote is an ideal one to say to yourself when you find yourself comparing yourself to others, and finding this negatively affecting your happiness and your gratitude for what you have.
It is human nature for us to be aware (and sometimes even hyper aware) of what people around us are doing. It can of course be difficult sometimes, but try to focus on wishing that person well and being happy for them for what they have, just as you would want them to be happy for you in the same situation.
If you practice limiting comparison and being happy for others often, it can become a positive habit to help with uplifting your own wellbeing.
Catching yourself in the act of comparison is also a perfect moment to remember some of the five things you wrote down recently to bring you peace, clarity and contentment.
I am grateful for the opportunity to write this article, and to share it with the We Connect community.