It's hard to be appreciative of everything all the time. In some ways that would be unhealthy, because being dissatisfied can inspire positive change and progress. It's also distracting not to be able to take basic things for granted, or else we'd never get anything done. As with most things it's best to find a balance.
But for the most part I don't think people appreciate what they have enough. I'm often surprised by the kinds of things many people become openly dissatisfied with. It's a miracle most days just to breathe, and when I'm healthy I try not to take even that for granted. When I get outside in the morning I try to remember to take in one good breath and just be happy that I can. It would be insane to try to appreciate everything we should be grateful for every moment, but I figure one or two representative moments can help put things in a better perspective.
Probably the most unlikely thing I do that I remember to mark in this way is every time I put away a grocery cart. I know it annoys most people to have to return the cart after unloading groceries in the parking lot, especially when the weather is bad.
But I always think of my grandma. I loved my grandma. She was generous and smart. Later in life in particular she had her routines. She preferred to grocery shop at a particular Kroger and had a system with her coupons and became distressed whenever the store rearranged anything. It always seemed like a bit of a hassle to get the shopping done the way she did it, but she enjoyed the routine.
When she became frail and lost the ability to go out to the store herself it was hard. I know people around her wanted her to feel as if the burden of the grocery shopping being passed on to others was somehow a plus, but I don't think she ever saw it as anything but a sign of her loss of independence. There was no way to know when a particular trip to Kroger turned out to be her last. It's hard to let go of the mundane, the routine, and sometimes harder when you don't get to feel the goodbye.
So I think of her when I return the cart at the grocery store. Because I remember when it hit me that she wouldn't be doing it anymore, and that if she could magically be well enough to gather her coupons and push that cart up the aisles one more time she would enjoy it. The freedom of it, the independence of it, the sheer fact that you have to be alive and well enough to do it, would not be lost on her.
Every time I return the cart--even on a bad or overly busy day--part of me always appreciates that I still can.