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Have you ever felt as if you lacked the ability to be content, unable to live in the moment and just be grateful? You are not alone. I suffer from this problem on a regular basis and am constantly trying to gain inner peace and satisfaction.
One moment I might feel anxious, while the next ungrateful for what I have. Indeed, being content with one's life can be a process. But I never stop trying, doing little things each day to find satisfaction.
Perhaps you can relate to how I’m feeling? Or maybe your lack of contentment is worse than mine. For instance, you might be negative too often or criticize loved ones, whether they did anything wrong or not. Or maybe you’re basing your idea of contentment on wealth or luxury items.
Don’t worry… I’m not here to judge. I am one of the biggest complainers anyone knows. But I try to deal with my own negativity by having a sense of humor. No matter what, you can figure out how to cope with discontent in your life. In this post, I'll offer a series of ways to be content with what you have in life.
What is Contentment?
Contentment is a feeling of being satisfied and happy. In fact, being content is different from being happy. When you're happy, you may have persistent positive thoughts such as feeling pleasure or interest. But contentment is longer lasting and gives someone deeper feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction.
Since being content lasts longer, one should strive for this. Doing so can give you a significant amount of gratification in comparison to being happy.
Further, contentment can help you focus on what matters. Rather than having negative thoughts and doing inconsequential activities, you can enjoy the moment in meaningful ways and have inner peace.
You can feel at ease in your situation, boost compassionate feelings towards others, and appreciate what's truly important to you. Learning how to be more content can strengthen your relationships, boost positivity, and increase your understanding of what you really want in life.
9 Ways to Be Content
Even though reaching contentment may seem like an intimidating and far-reaching goal, you can keep your journey simple, so that it appears less daunting a task. For one thing, try doing one activity at a time, relaxing in the moment, and having realistic expectations. Here are some ways you can acquire contentment in your day-to-day life.
Step 1. Cultivate Gratitude
Sometimes being grateful requires one to quiet their mind and take a deep breath – possibly even check your ego at the door. I find myself in this position quite often. For example, I usually become angry when I have to do chores that no one else wants to do. One chore, in particular, is cleaning up after my family's pets.
Instead of just leaving the animals to fend for themselves, I take a deep breath and just do it. After a few minutes, I forget I was angry and starting noticing the positives.
Thus, my gratefulness increases. I’m outdoors, surrounded by beauty and fresh country air. I then start to remember my deep love for our pets.
Feeling grateful for even the smallest of things will come easier to you if you commit to the practice. A great way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. Make it a hobby to write down five things you're grateful for each day.
Other ways to practice gratitude include:
Step 2. Keep a Positive Mindset
If you'd like to know how to be content, one way to do this is to have a positive mindset. I think we all have problems with staying positive all of the time… but our efforts still count towards boosting our moods.
Rather than judge or criticize others, I try to focus my energy on healthy activities, such as helping people improve. This could be by volunteering to write letters to those less fortunate or writing blog articles for charitable organizations that promote mental health.
If you tend to criticize yourself more than others, then you should replace this behavior with positive thoughts about yourself. If you don't like your outer appearance at times, try learning to love yourself more.
Self-care can be as simple as putting a lavender scented lotion on your body, meditating or getting a manicure. Doing this or something similar can help you understand that you're a beautiful person worthy of love.
Step 3. Be Compassionate Towards Others
Being compassionate towards others can be a challenge, since no one's perfect. One way to make this easier for yourself could be to focus on practicing self-compassion first.
After all, not loving oneself enough can make it difficult if not impossible to care about others as much as we'd like to. You can be self-compassionate by being kind to yourself and doing what you enjoy.
As you explore how to gain self-compassion, you can try volunteering to show compassion towards others. You can visit the elderly at a nursing home, help out at an animal shelter, donate books to a nonprofit organization, organize a blood drive, or do anything else you'd like to do.
Another idea is to do good deeds by baking a cake and giving it to your neighbor, making bookmarks and placing these randomly in library books, or putting a bird feeder outside so the birds can eat. You may even start to enjoy being compassionate and realizing how rewarding it is.
Step 4. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
You're a unique individual and, if you don't already, you should focus on recognizing this quality in yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others. While you might think the grass is greener on the other side, it usually isn’t.
In fact, when you step on this grass, you may notice it has brown spots you couldn’t see from a distance.
Another person might have everything you don't have, but this doesn't mean you'll be content when you gain what they have. Plus, they likely don't have what you do have.
When you compare yourself to others, you're wasting your time by focusing all of your energy and attention on them. And you're doing this while they live their own life.
Instead of dwelling on what you lack, focus on being grateful for what you have. When I start to compare myself to others, I stop and think about how my actions affect me. I notice I feel angry, inadequate, and maybe a little jealous.
This can lead to hating myself… and I won’t allow it. Instead, I tell myself to get a life and resolve to find something better to do with my time, such as creating art or taking a class to learn something new.
Step 5. Stop Making Excessive Purchases
Although buying things can make us feel good at the moment, all of this extra stuff won't make anyone content in the long run. To illustrate, if I were to purchase a luxury car, I might feel like a celebrity who owns the world for a short time.
But eventually, I'd feel selfish and empty. Moreover, I'd regret wasting my hard-earned money on an expensive car because I'm not rich.
As human beings, we need more than material objects to make us happy. Choosing to focus on having experiences that matter to you is a great deal wiser because what you'll gain will be priceless and longer-lasting.
Step 6. Learn to Take Pleasure in Simple Things
While simple things may not make you successful or rich, there's more to life than this. It can be a challenge to humble oneself, but this is often what it takes to enjoy life's simple pleasures.
Things like eating a homemade meal surrounded by loved ones, picking flowers in a field, reading a book, doing a good deed, enjoying drinks with friends, taking your dog for a walk, or going for a jog in the morning are perfect examples of things we all too often take for granted.
Step 7. Try to Be Patient
Everyone finds themselves growing impatient at some point. Maybe it’s when you feel as if no one understands or listens to you. Or maybe you don't like to wait. Whatever gets your blood pressure rising can result in negativity and dissatisfaction, as well as physical ailments.
Instead of living in frustration, try to gain patience. Practice makes perfect. One way to deal with this problem could be to take life less seriously. If you can't stand waiting in line at your bank, try thinking of something positive while you wait.
This could be a joke you heard recently or you could even conjure up a positive image. You can even sing a song in your head or use your imagination in other ways.
These are ways to take your mind to a better place, so you can forget about reality for a while. I constantly feel impatient throughout the day. But each time I feel this way, I use my imagination to keep myself in a positive mindset. This makes me feel like I'm in an ideal place in my head.
Step 8. Find Something to Believe In
There are days when I feel as if I have nothing to believe in. This makes me feel as though life isn't worth living, which certainly isn’t the case. So I tell myself to make the smallest effort to care about something… and find something or someone to believe in. I can’t give up, ever.
We should all commit to having values and beliefs. This is what motivates us to keep going. Some of my values are creativity, intelligence, compassion, and spirituality. What are yours?
When you don't live by your values, you eventually won't have a desire to live at all. You won't have anything to believe in and that isn't a real life. Having beliefs doesn't have to be boring or even particularly difficult. It can be as simple as believing animals have rights and writing letters to close kill shelters.
Or believing no child should go hungry and making the commitment to deliver food to a pantry or shelter once per month.
Step 9. Be Present in the Moment
With everything going on around us, from the noise of the Internet to the stresses of everyday life, it's understandable that many of us have trouble living in the moment.
Life is distracting from all sides. We're too busy feeling anxious… from the decision over what to make for dinner, to whether or not we’ll ever slow down and spend more time focusing on our goals and dreams. But thinking too much about the future means we can't relish the present enough.
That is why I actively try to stay present by practicing mindfulness. You can practice being mindful by focusing on your breathing and practicing gratitude, among other things. You can be mindful while taking a shower, eating a meal, or doing other activities throughout your day.
Final Thoughts on How to Be Content
We can all benefit from learning how to be content. I commit to doing something a few times a week, if not daily, to increase my own fulfillment in life. This can mean practicing meditation or yoga, reading a favorite book, spending time with my pets, exercising… whatever I enjoy doing, for me.
By making a commitment to improving your quality of life, you can be more content. Despite the fact that it may not be easy at first, we're confident you can change your life for the better by taking small steps.
Start by making a simple plan to follow every day. You can utilize one or a few of the steps we talked about in this article… or come up with your own way to get you on the path towards contentment. For more inspiration, you may want to read our article on the benefits of gratitude.