Beginning Contentment

Content (adjective) -- pleased and satisfied; not needing more

This is a pretty simple definition, but being content can be quite difficult to achieve in your own life, especially without a little work.  Growing up, my mom would often tell me, "You bring your weather with you," particularly when I had a terrible attitude going into an event or situation.  How often do we forget that the external influences matter less than our internal ones?  Our attitude is our biggest asset or our biggest weakness.  In this post, we'll explore the differences between a discontented and contented life and a few suggestions for moving towards being content.

When we are discontented with our lives, we constantly look for more--more stuff, more fun, more adventures, more friends...  We may not appreciate our health, our job, our home, or our friends and family.  We tend to see only what we're missing out on, who's thinner than we are, or who is doing exciting things (in real life or even on Facebook...), instead of what we're up to ourselves.  A small amount of this can motivate someone to make a positive change in his/ her own life, but often discontentment leads to more unhappiness. 

A gradual shift in the way we feel about our lives can become contentment. 

Start by being grateful everyday for something.  Sounds easy, but how many days have you gone recently without taking time to be thankful?  You can think, say, or even write these down. 

To help with this, I keep a gratitude journal.  Each day, I write a short list of whatever comes to mind.  I don't really journal in the journal, but I do include the date.

Another important focus is to find things, people, and situations in your life that you can be happy about.  Too often we focus on the negative aspects of these interactions.  We criticize ourselves and others, instead of finding the good. 

If we were all to put these two into practice, as often as possible, imagine how much more positive our interactions would become.  Contentment does not come naturally to everyone.  Holidays can be especially challenging, but working to be happy with what you have, where you are, and who you are is an excellent way to redefine your life and find contentment.

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