“Contentment is natural wealth; luxury is artificial poverty.”—Socrates
Contentment, or the state of being content, is about peaceful satisfaction. It involves appreciating what you have and where you are in life, rather than wishing things were different. Of course, I am not saying you should simply settle for a life that does not bring you joy. Rather, you should continue to dream big, set goals for yourself, and work towards them diligently – just remember to enjoy the journey and not rush to make it happen.
The strange thing about contentment is that it is possible to feel fulfilled inside yet have an outer struggle at the same time. That is because contentment celebrates the good in your life while simultaneously working through the bad. Whereas happiness may come and go, being content is something you can continually work towards.
If you are hoping to cultivate more contentment in your life, here are seven ways to help you with your journey!
Ways to Feel More Content
Live your values
When your actions and thoughts are in line with your values, you can be your authentic self more easily. Being your authentic self is ultimately going to provide you with a greater sense of contentment.
What do I mean by values?
Values are essentially what we care about most in life. They motivate us, they give us energy and/or calm us down, and they give us a sense of fulfillment. Values are what drive you toward what it is you want out of life.
If you find that you are dissatisfied with life or constantly thinking about the future, ask yourself if you are honoring your values in your daily life. If not, make a plan to honor them every day.
Not sure what your values are?
Go down the list and write down any that pops out at you. The goal is to narrow the list down to about five values that are the most important to you. If you are having trouble identifying your values, think about the things that make you feel motivated, passionate, fulfilled, and rewarded.
Nourish your mind, body, and soul
If you want to feel more content with the way you are now, start taking care of yourself inside and out. Sometimes we stay focused on the future because we imagine ourselves healthier, slimmer, happier, etc., but the only way to get to that state is to take action right now.
Play up your strengths
We spend a lot of our lives trying to change what we do not like about ourselves. If we are not changing them, we are complaining about them. It is hard to shake off the mentality that we have to be good at everything, but the reality is that everyone will have their weaknesses.
Rather than focusing on what I am not good at, I have learned that it can be so much more beneficial and productive to continue developing my current skills and strengths. Once you have pinpointed your strengths, think about how you can use them to the best of your ability. This way you can spend less time dwelling on the things you do not like about yourself and more time living a fulfilling life by emphasizing the parts that you do like.
Matter of fact my strengths are humor, love of learning, good judgment, social intelligence, and creativity.
Embrace your curiosity
We often repress our curiosity because we cannot see the value it might add to our lives. There are also certain activities I am curious to try like kayaking and paragliding, but something always holds me back from signing up for sessions.
If you are feeling bored with your life, never downplay the power of curiosity. Asking questions and learning about new things can give us so many answers, even to questions we never knew we had. We can either embrace our curiosity or spend our whole lives wondering what it might have been like to talk to so-and-so or do this-and-that. Be curious about everything, and you will never be bored.
Start a mindfulness practice
A mindfulness practice is one of the best ways to cultivate inner peace and reduce stress. The definition of mindfulness is being present at the moment without judgment aka the ultimate way to find contentment wherever you may be. Mindfulness is about appreciating where you are without striving to change anything or make something happen. If you want to start enjoying your life more, try doing something three days a week that will help you to stop living in the past/future, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or a nature walk.
Reverse the negativity bias
We as humans have a knack for focusing on the negative. We make a huge deal about the things that go wrong in our lives, yet when something good happens, it has less of an impact on us. There is actually something called the negativity bias which says we react to and learn from negative stimuli more intensely than positive stimuli.
To reverse this negativity bias, we need to focus on fully experiencing the positive experiences in our lives. When something good happens to you, try to really savor the moment. Write it down, take a picture or video, tell somebody about it – anything to keep it alive as long as you can. Feel it becoming a part of you. This does not mean you need to suppress the negative things that happen, but rather give the positive things more attention.
Keep a gratitude log
Often when we hear about expressing gratitude, we think of the people and things that we are grateful for. Our friends, family, partners, home, car, food, etc. Of course, it really does help put things into perspective when you think of your life without those things, but I would say to go even deeper when it comes to gratitude.
Think about your accomplishments, how you handled your day, how your own values came into play, which strengths you are grateful for, what you are proud of, what you are excited about, and what is good in your life right now. Most of the time we forget to be grateful for ourselves, so start giving yourself a little more daily self-love through a gratitude log.
Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practicing art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.
Trishna is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai.
Trishna fancies the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too, to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers and thinkers.