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5304 Cultivate-Contentment

Cultivate Contentment

Cultivate Contentment

We live in a  consumer-driven society and sometimes it's difficult to be happy with what you've got as you're constantly faced with what you don't have! The better job, bigger house, the fancier car, the funkier cell phone, the list is endless…But more is never enough: as soon as you get it, you realize that it didn't make you quite as happy as you thought it would and start looking for something else to fill the gap.

But a mindset of "I will be happier as soon as…" only leads to  discontent that keeps eating away at you. This constant dissatisfaction makes us feel resentful and negative. While we focus on what we don't have, we fail to appreciate what we do have and as a result we let much of our life slip through our fingers.

So how do you achieve contentment and inner peace? The first step is to realise that contentment doesn't come from the outside - it comes from within. So no new car, job, house, phone, or even lover, won't make you happy. If you depend on external things to fill the gap, the satisfaction will be short-lived and you'll be right back where you started.

Once you let go of the notion that you need things to be happy, you can start working on the things that will give you a feeling of lasting contentment:

  • Want what you have. Instead of focussing on what you don't have, be grateful for what you do have. Each night before you go to bed, make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Once you start, you'll find that you have more to be thankful for than you realised
  • Don't compare. There will always be someone who has more money, a better job, a bigger house, more talent, and so on. Celebrate the things that make you unique and don't compare yourself to others
  • Accept yourself. Nobody is perfect or has everything they want or need. The sooner you accept your limitations and shortcomings the happier you'll be. It doesn't, however, mean you can't work towards your goals or try to improve your weaknesses. It only means you won't be so unhappy about not having achieved it yet
  • Appreciate the things money can't buy. As they say, the best things in life are free. And most of them we don't miss until they are gone. So nurture your relationships with friends and family and take care of your health!
  • Find your passion. Life without passion is very, very boring! Find out what excites you and jump in with both feet. Very little fills the emptiness like doing what you love to do!
  • Develop inner focus. To avoid being bombarded by images of the things you don't have, try to divert your attention inward. You can do this by practicing meditation, strength training, yoga or Pilates
  • Give. Nothing makes you feel better about what you have than giving to someone who has less. Raise money for your favourite charity, volunteer at an orphanage or an old persons home, donate clothes to children's home, the possibilities are endless

Negative emotions such as resentment and jealousy aren't good for your mind, body or soul. In fact, harbouring these may lead to physical and mental illness. Working towards contentment will not only improve your state of mind and mood, but it will also enhance your immune system.

Of course, being content doesn't mean you can't pursue your goals or chase your dreams - having something to look forward to and work towards is equally important. But don't be so wrapped up in what you don't have that you forgot about what you do have!