elminster wrote:How do you learn to appreciate what you have? Or is it better to learn to appreciate the lack of negative things?
It's all relative, but saying you're fortunate because you have X is different to saying that you're fortunate because you don't have Y. There's definitely an abundance of what you don't have, but the things you have may not be the best of those things, which may or may not be that good, however, having a lack of negativity is almost always good thing. Also, generally good things are in place because you made the right choices, where as bad things come around more by chance.
For example, I don't think I could learn to appreciate not having a headache unless I've only recently had one. I don't think it should constantly be on your mind (Constantly thinking about negative things would be a bad thing), but more of a "mini filler thought" if you will; something to, near-unconsciously, keep the image you have of your own life (i.e. what you imagine your situation to be) more accurate relative to everything else.
Brains are too good at filtering out familiar things, they only notice change unless actively thinking about something.
Smell the roses, essentially. Reflect on what you like. What do you look forward to? Who do you enjoy speaking to? Have you improved anything recently? What improves your mood? Scrutinize your residence. What is your favorite thing in the room? How is the décor? Inspect it again tomorrow. Write a list, if necessary. Continue remembering it.
Visualizes smaller, immediate things in the above mindset. Pictures living without long-term things, typically. Appreciates different, but valid things. Considers neither wrong.