I was thinking about ways we can remind ourselves to enjoy life, specifically, how we can appreciate the things we have in our lives right now? It's easy for us to take things for granted when we have them over time without change . Relationships, in particular, come to mind. The idea is that it's too late to treasure (and act on) a wonderful person or circumstances until afterwards. This thinking is captured by expressions like "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" (from Big Yellow Taxi, a song before my time, but which I find meaningful).
So, if loss leads to appreciation, can we simulate it mentally and be more fulfilled when we return? The technique might be like so: Pick someone you are failing to appreciate - just a tiny bit, maybe, like your spouse - and imagine your world without him. Taste it, experience your feelings, and really visualize how your life would be different. Then bring yourself back to the present. Has your perspective changed? Are you more likely to practice active gratitude?
Actually, we have something that plays this role: Art. Watching a tear-jerker, reading about someone else's loss, or drinking in a beautiful painting helps us to appreciate the riches in our lives. These things take us out of our lives for a moment, putting us into an alternative state/reality that gives us a datapoint for comparison to our lives. I'm an engineer and scientist at heart, so this insight about art gave me a big shift about priorities, esp. in school. (I got zero exposure to culture when getting my B.S. in Electrical Engineering.)
Finally, in addition to making us thankful, it is a coin in the regret prevention piggy bank.
Here are some examples to try:
- the death of a loved one
- inclimate weather (if it's warm where you live, pretend it's winter then step outside and be surprised!)
- life without electricity
- being deathly sick
- Have you used this technique? On what?
- How has it changed your perspective?
- What things in our lives do this in a different form? (E.g., having a bad dream.)
- In what settings should we not apply this? (Think self-pity, depression, or denial.)
-  Maybe this is related to our brains ability to tune out that which becomes static. This is obviously evolutionarily advantageous - things that aren't changing don't need our precious attention. Movement in particular deserves scrutiny. (Please: Share the name and good references for this!)