Happiness self-help

Keys to Happiness: Self-Appreciation

Happiness is often elusive. Here is an important key that will allow you to re-discover the joys within yourself.

By Michael Hadfield

Appreciation, or rather the expression of appreciation, is essential for emotional health and well-being. Appreciation is a skill that we can all learn. But it has to start at home. It has to start with appreciation for you.

Appreciation of self may not come easily. I don’t know about you but I grew up with the sense that to ‘blow my own trumpet’ was a bad thing – something I shouldn’t do because I wouldn’t be liked if I did. Being liked was important to me – so I didn’t blow my own trumpet – ever.

I also rarely felt good about myself.

In my seeking to understand me I discovered that a powerful connection exists here.

If you don’t already feel good about yourself, and you seek happiness, then learning the art of self-appreciation is the key to unlocking the good feelings you’d like to feel inside of you. With that in mind I have some exercises for you to complete. I would like you to make a chart of your life. Write down a list of numbers that represent ages from 0 to your current age – one line for each. Then just allow your mind to drift over each of those ages briefly and note down anything significant to you in the way of a success, or an achievement – something you felt good about at the time, or you feel good about now. Things like starting school; passing some exams; getting a job; getting a job you wanted; kissing someone you liked; first-time sex; riding a roller coaster; taking a picture; first pay check; growing a plant from seed; eating something you’d grown; fulfilling a dream; healing. It really doesn’t matter what it is, it definitely doesn’t matter if the rest of world would see it as insignificant, what matters is that it was important to you and made you feel good, or excited, or happy.

Now when you’ve been over the list and filled in all the major events, look at the gaps and see if you can possibly find something to put on every single line. That’s a bit of a challenge I admit, and there is certainly no failure if you have big gaps, but you will find that as you move your mind towards thinking in terms of achievements and successes that more and more memories will come up.

Now, buy an expensive frame, and frame this ‘certificate’ of achievement and hang it on your bedroom wall. If you have a computer and like to play around, type in all the information and turn it into an impressive and attractive certificate and print it on some quality notepaper. As you look at it every morning and every evening and see just what a wonderfully successful person you are, you may find that any gaps will soon be filled as your mind switches its focus from failure to success. Pick one item each day, fetch back the memory, and fully appreciate the importance of that event in your life.

One other activity I’d like you to engage in is another simple exercise. At night, just before you drift off to sleep, I’d like you to wander through your day in your mind and find between 1 and 5 things that happened that day that you appreciate. It doesn’t matter how small these items of appreciation are. There is always something good in a day. If the sun came up this morning then that’s a good thing. If you put food in your mouth, and water in your belly – that’s a good thing. If you enjoyed the food and drink – that’s even better. If you saw a flower, or enjoyed its scent, then make note, if you were lost in its beauty for a moment – then that’s a miracle. If your car started, or your bus turned up; if you have a job, or lots of free time… if you took a breath and were still alive to enjoy breathing it out again… the list of ordinary, mundane, incredible things that happen to us each day, and that we take so totally for granted, is endless. Start to notice them and continue this exercise until you feel that appreciation and sense of wonder at the time you are experiencing the event.

Make this conscious effort to agree to spend a moment or two each day to express sincere appreciation and thanks for the miracles that exist around you and within you. Learn to appreciate the wonder of you, for none of these experiences could exist without you the Experiencer to enjoy and appreciate them. Your experiences are unique to you. When you experience joy the planet has more joy in it. By the simple act of appreciating those simple, yet wonderful, things that you experience, you will change your world for the better.

Michael J. Hadfield MBSCH is a registered clinical hypnotherapist.  Visit for a help & support

By Michael

I have been a hypnotherapist for around 12 years. My specific interests are in stress and physical healing. My fascination is with how the mind 'creates' the world. I am a fan of Esther & Jerry Hicks.

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