There will be times when life seems easy, and times when it seems hard; times of abundance and times of scarcity.
But if you start to fall into the trap of constantly feeling dissatisfied with life, some of the following tricks may help put things in perspective.
1. Appreciate the season
There's a time to sow and a time to reap, and if you feel you're doing a lot of giving and not much receiving right now, you're probably in a sowing season, rather than a reaping one. Have patience. You may have heard this quote from Winston Churchill:
"You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give."
Sometimes when you're in a life phase that requires a lot of giving, you can begin to feel resentful or dissatisfied. It can help to remember that one day you'll look around and see the wonderful life you made from all that giving.
2. Practice daily gratitude
According to Psychology Today, regularly feeling and expressing gratitude leads to improvements in health and mood, and a happier life overall.
This is easy to understand, but hard to do. You can't just order yourself to feel grateful. Instead, try practicing some of these focused gratitude activities.
3. Find the purpose in service
The reason so many people find serving others so fulfilling is not necessarily the act itself, but the purpose behind it.
For example, it's easier to find the purpose if we're volunteering or serving others through a specific activity, and harder to find if we're raising children or caring for family members. But raising a family is full of purpose if you consider what you're actually doing. Raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings, who will have their own positive impact on the world in the future, is one mighty purpose. Take the time to really see the reasons of your efforts.
4. Take inventory
You have more than you realize, emotionally and physically. Take a few moments every morning and each evening, to make a mental list of all the positive things and people in your life, or sit down and make a written list.
5. Focus on wanting what you have
We all tend to focus on having what we want; but wanting what we have is even more important. Look at what you have and find ways to focus on the parts you love. Change or tweak the parts you don't, and either accept or let go of what you don't like but can't change.
When we focus on the positive things we already have, we tend to get more, because what we nurture, grows.
Or as Oprah Winfrey once put it, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
6. Learn to love the non-material
Make a list of all the things you love that money just can't buy, and then try to incorporate one or more of those things into every day. For example, your list could include "big picture" things like love, laughter, friends, family and faith, and also simple things like spending time in nature, long walks, sunsets, sunrises and seashores.
7. Stop comparing
If you're feeling dissatisfied it could be because you're comparing yourself to people who are at a different life stage, or on a completely different path from you.
Instead of comparing ourselves to others constantly, try being happy for others. Replacing jealousy and comparison with genuine happiness for others will replace bitter feelings in your life with satisfaction and joy.
So spend some time helping others, congratulating them, supporting them, and in turn, becoming your best self.