I recently ran into an old colleague from my days working at a surf company.  One of the things that hit me was how whenever I see someone who used to work there, all we can do is talk about how much happier we are now that we are gone. Let’s just say it was intense, toxic and competitive. Nothing like you would expect a surf company to be.

I realized contrast is what helps us appreciate the good in our lives. Without the bad, the good would seem mundane. Go down the list and compare bad relationships to good ones, love to hate, healthy to unhealthy, etc. One that really stands out for me is how much I appreciated health after having cancer. Not just health, but everyday things we take for granted like being able to leave the house to run errands or have lunch with a friend. When I got my concussion, all I wanted to do was take my kids to the park, something I loathed before.

You can get to the heart of an issue and find creative solutions by letting contrast guide you. By making a list of problems or negative feelings and then writing down alongside that list each thing’s opposite, you can compare and decide next steps that will allow you to adopt something better. I did this on a flight home from New York when I made a list of how I wanted to feel in a relationship and then compared it to how my then-boyfriend made me feel. I broke up with him as soon as I got home.

Practice using contrast today in some area of your life to help you feel more appreciative or to gain a new perspective to a problem where a solution has previously eluded you.