Gratitude: The Cure For Your Spoiled Misery

How To Reset Your First World Problems For A Happier Life

Hey everyone,

This week’s newsletter is all about gratitude and appreciation. So I thank you all for being here & following me every week.

This week's issue will take 7 minutes to read. So grab your coffee and enjoy the ride!

And, of course, don't forget to subscribe if you haven't done it, and please also share it with others.

Think about your past week.

How many times have you complained about something?

Something like the shitty weather. Or the queue in the supermarket. Or that the morning soy latte was colder than you wanted.

I bet you can name a few examples.

Let me also confess: I have complained a lot in the past weeks.

(Not about the soy latte. I don't drink that. That's not my cup of tea - pun intended.)

This started to change last week as I learned a couple of shocking, tragic, and eye-opening stories at the Budapest International Documentary Festival (BIDF).

One of the reasons I love documentary movies is that they can take you to the spot of such shocking stories, and through the scenes, you can feel that you are just right there with the protagonist(s).

Some of the festival's eye-opening movies were about:

Watching those movies made me rethink my current living circumstances and put my life into perspective.

This year did not start on the right foot for me due to some diseases I struggled with for 2 weeks and insomnia I am just recovering from.

Despite the workouts I have been doing (strength training, swimming, running, and cycling), I was less energized than I should've been.

So the vicious circle of complaints appeared and grew larger.

While sickness and insomnia are valid struggles, some of my complaints were inaccurate.

And through the movies and my talks with their creators, I got a well-deserved slap on my face.

And a slap that I believe many of us warmly need.

I am sure that most of you, my subscribers and regular readers, are living in fairly good circumstances.

  • You have a home with electricity, heating, and water - and food on the table

  • You have some income

  • You don't have to fear for your life (or your loved ones) due to a sudden war attack or natural disaster

Of course, we all have our issues, and many are real - either we struggle with health, finances or with other serious matters.

But still, we are generally better off than 2 billion (!) people who live in conflict zones globally.

2 billion people. Read that again.

Those people have some real everyday struggles:

  • potential (or already suffered) loss of their homes,

  • lack of food,

  • fear for their lives due to a possible missile or gun attack at any moment.

Meanwhile, we are living our comfy lives and getting offended by innocent words.

A man mourns near a dead body after a deadly airstrike outside of Kharkiv, Ukraine on the day Russia started the invasion on February 24, 2022. This is freakin’ real… (Source: Anadolu Agency)

Also, we tend to complain about things that, frankly, do not matter at all. You should not give a big fat damn about them.

Why am I telling all these things?

Because our everyday life can be overwhelming with all the troubles and gripes that come our way. It's also easy to get caught up in things that don't really matter in the big picture.

We've got it pretty good with all our needs taken care of, but sometimes we still find ways to stress ourselves out and make a fuss.

We complain a lot. We never stop accumulating stuff. We may forget to be satisfied with what we have.

This makes us so miserable.

I see so many people who are financially wealthy and have the opportunity to create a mentally free life. Yet, they are unhappy.

But why do people behave like this?

The phenomenon of the hedonic treadmill can describe this well. Julia Clavien has an excellent definition for it:

The hedonic treadmill is the vicious cycle of hedonic adaptation—once you get used to the pleasures you have, you must seek new pleasures. It becomes a never-ending quest, feeling like you’re going nowhere.

Julia Clavien

Visually, it looks as follows:

Credits: Julia Clavien

That explains why you feel short-term happiness when you buy new clothes, a new phone, or a new car.

(Except for people like me who have a weird love for their cars - I love it the same way as on the day I bought it)

And your frustration, unhappiness, or issues won’t be solved by shopping your ass off.

So what should we all do instead?

3 Things To Make Your Life Happier, More Fulfilled, and Less Discontented

1) Practice Mindfulness & Gratitude

If you are a regular Mindful Guerilla subscriber & reader, you might remember that this advice is recurring in my post.

And that's on purpose.

This newsletter aims to help you live more intentionally, be more mentally free, and grow as a person.

Practicing gratitude and mindfulness is a core element of those.

In my first weekly issue this year, I advised practicing gratitude and mindfulness to defeat the addiction of overconsumption (both in a material and digital form).

It's also worth re-reading that advice as it fully applies here.

However, this time I want to focus on another aspect of gratitude and mindfulness.

Stop for a moment and examine your life.

If you read this newsletter issue, I suspect you have a life according to Western comfort: a home, food on the table, and loving people around you.

These are already three things to be grateful about.

Also, examine everything you have in your life, such as:

  • the stuff you own - all the material goods

  • the skills you have, the minor & significant success you achieved in the past years

  • the people around you, the ones you can count on & the ones who are - gladly - not in your life anymore

  • the experiences you have gone through - the amazing ones, the tough ones that made you stronger

Through this, you will find dozens of things, people, and experiences you can genuinely be grateful for.

And therefore, you will realize how much you already have in life.

2) Keep A Gratitude Journal

My first advice should certainly be something other than a one-time thing to do.

In fact, the more often you practice it, the better.

However, there is also a simple daily habit that helps you keep gratitude in your mind, which is the gratitude journal.

Nothing fancy at all.

Take a sheet of paper, a notebook, or open the Notes app on your phone.

Every morning or evening, write down three things you're thankful for each day to help you focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Writing down the things you are thankful for can shift your focus from negative thoughts and experiences to positive ones.

This will also lead you to a more optimistic outlook and reduce the anxiety and misery you may experience.

Practicing this gratitude daily also helps you cultivate a more thankful and appreciative attitude toward life, leading to increased happiness and contentment.

Sounds fun, right? And it only takes a few minutes of your day. Magic pill!

3) Do a Hedonic Reset

Dopamine Detox, Dry November - you might have already heard these things.

The term "hedonic reset" also comes from the previously quoted article by Julia Clavien.

However, the advice is not entirely new, and some of you might have done it in other forms.

Hedonic reset refers to removing certain goods or activities in your life that you used to enjoy but doesn't feel "have their shine" anymore.

Without that full excitement and appreciation, you might have enjoyed that cake, wine, or car you now take for granted.

Try to remove those from your daily life for a short time.

Refrain from eating sweets or drinking alcohol for a month. You will appreciate the first sip of that beer or wine after. Much more than ever before.

Instead of driving to your workplace or the supermarket, take public transport or walk for at least a week. The next time you will sit in your car, no matter how new or old it is, your appreciation will grow.

Even before learning the phrase "hedonic reset," I have often done it.

I did a "Dry January" with zero alcohol consumption. It had a lot of benefits in terms of health, finances, and the ability to drive home after a night out with friends.

And also, when I will take my first sip of beer today at a company gathering, I will enjoy it much better than when I drink it every week.

Now it’s your turn.

Take that sip of your morning coffee, spend the next 5 minutes contemplating your life and use these tips to ensure that you appreciate more what you have.

It will make you feel happier.

But don’t thank me for that.

Thank yourself for reading my weekly newsletter issue and send it to anyone who might need that boost as well.

Máté - The Mindful Guerilla

💡 My Weekly Recommendations 💡

Stuff I Recommend You This Week

  • Noah Cracknell recently wrote about the notion of The Efficiency Trap - meaning that our obsession with efficiency leads to a trap where we want to do everything. But as they say, we can do anything but we cannot do everything. Read his newsletter issue, it’s such an important topic for all of today’s white collar workers.

  • I recommend reading Benjamin Hardy’s article to get more on how to practice gratitude.

  • If you want to get smarter every day in various fields of interest, sign up to Refind and let the algorithm send you 5 valuable links every day, curated from 10k+ sources.

Newsletters I Read Every Week

  • Young Money - Jack writes inspirational & insightful posts on finance, career, and life. I learned a lot from his work, which was also a great motivation for me to start my own newsletter. 10/10 recommended!

  • International Intrigue - A valuable newsletter on diplomacy & geopolitics delivered every weekday. Rather read this than all those shitty clickbait articles on mainstream media.

  • Exec Sum - A daily newsletter on the major stories from the financial world. It's fun, entertaining, and informative. Better than those finance outlets with shitloads of ads.

  • Snail Mail by Slow Growth - a weekly newsletter delivered every Monday by Matt D'Avella's team with great motivational content on productivity. It's not the usual productivity bullshit that you find everywhere else.

  • The Daily Preneur - Noah’s 2x weekly newsletter is an awesome complement to my content. He writes about preneurship and economics and gives you a great non-BS perspective on how we should live life.

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