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Finding Contentment

How are you today? It’s an everyday question we hear anywhere we go. The autopilot response is, “Fine, thank you.” Fine stands for “feelings inside not expressed.”

What would it take for us to respond: “Content, thank you very much”? Content is not a word we use very often, is it? It almost feels like contentment is a lofty goal that requires an tangible accomplishment of some sort rather than a possible state of being in the moment.

Might you know when you’re feeling content? 

If not, you’re not alone. However, feeling content is something we all strive for. It’s fickle. It takes just one area of our lives to be off-kilter for contentment to go out the window. Maybe that dream job or relationship isn’t as fulfilling as you imagined or hoped it would be.

Some say learning to be content is very difficult. It is certainly a personal journey that we all must travel and nobody’s journey looks the same. I prefer to think that achieving contentment takes less work than we think, however it does require a consistent effort and awareness if we intend to transition out of our comfortable patterns that keep us stuck in discontent… and a lot of self-care and compassion for oneself.

The dictionary describes it as being in “a state of peaceful happiness.”

What does it take to feel content?

The truth is that it doesn’t take much to feel content. It’s good for us too. Contentment is linked to an improved immune system, physical health and living longer. And when you feel good, so do the people around you.

Healthy Routines

Anyone who feels content also feels settled. A healthy routine of daily exercise, spending time with friends, eating well and getting enough sleep contributes to contentment.

Purpose and Motivation

Ambition gives us purpose and motivated people are often more content because their lives are filled with challenges and like-minded people. They aren’t afraid to put themselves in challenging situations because they always believe in their abilities and talents. As a result, they experience less frustration.

Realistic Approach

While dreams and ambitions are important, most people who are content are also realistic. They don’t channel all their energies into one area of life or put all their hopes into one outcome. Instead, they take a more relaxed approach to life in general and accept life on life’s terms.

In Good Company

People who are in their stride are less likely to be moody and rarely swing between euphoria and depression. Surround yourself with happy people, and you can’t help but have a sunny outlook on life. The happiness bug is contagious.


Contented people appreciate the value of small things in life and are less likely to envy others. There will always be someone who appears to be better off than you. It’s human nature to compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions we make about others. Their life is never as perfect as we make it out to be. Instead, dwell on love, laughter and building good relationships rather than on superficial stuff.

Gratitude and contentment go hand-in-hand. Focus on the good things in life rather than on what you lack. Let go of the “when and then thinking.” Your contentment is based solely on your decision to be happy.


Contented people are notorious for giving back. When you help others by sharing your talents, time and money, you’ll have a finer appreciation for what you own, who you are and what you have to offer. One simple way to practise generosity is to overtip at restaurants, in spite of the service you receive. Try it and see what happens.

Break the buying habit. Material possessions never truly satisfy any heart’s desires. Ask instead why the lack of a particular item is causing you such discontent.

Be Present

Practise living in the “here and now” at least 20 minutes a day. If you allow your mind to venture too far, chances are life is passing you by.

Contented people fall into bed exhausted, but happy, and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That’s how you know you’ve got a balanced life.

In Summary

Be content with what you have, never with what you are. Take pride in your personhood and any progress you make. Learn to celebrate your achievements—even the small ones. Never stop learning, growing or discovering. As soon as you stop growing, you start dying.

The Journey Within: Finding Contentment
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