A Guide To Contentment

January 2nd, 2014 by

Kate having fun in the garden

The ability to be content is determined by an individual’s behaviours and characteristics rather than their circumstance. This is the first fact to accept in the pursuit of happiness. Often people fall into the trap of believing that true happiness only comes to those born beautiful and rich, but the reality is that people with great wealth or beauty are no happier than regular people. Behaviours and mind set are the only factors involved in an individual’s level of contentment, and the great news is that you have the ability to train yourself to adopt both!

People who are truly content with their ‘lot’ may have similar circumstances to you, they may have perceivably less desirable circumstances even, but their contentment is due to the following principles:

  1. They devote time and energy to their family and their friends
  2. They appreciate what they have and count their blessings
  3. They maintain a positive outlook
  4. They have a sense of belonging and most importantly, a sense of purpose
  5. They live in ‘today’ mode rather than focusing too much on the future or most importantly, the past.

Start your quest for contentment by establishing the positive forces amongst your friends and family. Surround yourself with positive people. You will absorb their positive energy, making it far more natural for you to start thinking in a similar way.

Be thankful and express it. When you count your blessings in life, various people and relationships are likely to spring to mind. If you think of your mother, your partner or your sibling – tell them how you feel about them and why they mean so much to you and your life. If you are thankful for your own abilities, your decisions or an aspect of your health or appearance, look at yourself in the mirror and praise yourself. Yes, this will seem odd and you may feel like a bit of a lunatic, but you will be amazed at the power of this simple step forward!

Before you go to sleep at night, switch off from any worries and focus consciously on the positives of the day, even if it is as simple as how your dog made you laugh. When you wake up, be sure to focus on the possibilities of the day and the positives that it will bring, however big or small.

Make an effort to turn any negative thought process into a positive. For example, switch ‘Oh I really don’t have the energy for that long commute into work,’ to ‘I’m looking forward to reading my book or listening to my music on route to work.’

Seeing the positives in life is one thing, but remember you are human and we all have moments of self-doubt and worry. Throw yourself into the motion of recognising when you have a negative thought, and then asking yourself ‘Is this really as bad as I think it is? Is there any other way to view my situation? What can I learn from this?’

Find your purpose. Content people have a direction. They have a goal or a mission and they are counting every day as a step toward achieving it. This may be a goal to help someone or to be a great mother to their children. Content people have aspirations and they focus on achieving them. What are yours?

If you are struggling to identify your goals, ask yourself, ‘What inspires me? When was I last truly happy? How would I like my friends and family to think of me? How would I like to be remembered?’

Finally do not postpone the feeling of contentment until you reach your destination. Remember to find happiness and pleasure in the smaller things – often these are the things that truly matter in the journey of life.

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