Are you the kind of person that always looks to see what kind of car your neighbor is driving? Or are you worried about what your co-workers are making as far as salary? Not happy in your job, marriage, friendships, or “fill in the blank”?
You need to learn the art of contentment. Being content is not being driven by always wanting more. I know that ambition is a prized trait in our society. I am not saying that ambition is wrong. What I am saying is that the constant striving for more and not enjoying what you have or where you are at the moment will drive you crazy. Things do and will change. Have the attitude that they will change for the better. That can co-exist with being content. The attitude you have for the present will determine your stress level and even if you are in the right space or not to accomplish what you want for yourself.
I would like to give you couple ways to bring contentment into your life. As with anything, learning to master contentment takes practice. Work these techniques into your life and start to see the difference in your stress level.
Learn a Right View of Problems
There is an old saying, “What you focus on expands.” Have you noticed that when you buy a car, you start noticing people driving the same model? That is because you are hypersensitive and focused on that model. It is the same way with problems. If you focus on what is wrong in your life, what you don’t have that is what you will constantly see. You will see what you look for.
Now I am not telling you to ignore problems. Take them straight on and deal with them. Always think of them as temporary and changing and then, most important take action to change them. The difference between being content and not is understanding that the problem is a temporary situation. One of the main causes of suicide is seeing problems and situations as permanent and taking a permanent solution to them. All things change.
If you look for what is right in your life, you will end up seeing many things.
Learn to Cultivate Gratitude
One of the big problems of media these days is that we get an incorrect view of reality. We get false expectations. Everyone has a new car, each family has a 4,000 square foot home. You don’t see reality. The world is imperfect. There blemishes on the most beautiful apple. There will always be something wrong with everything. When we are content we can separate reality from our expectations.
Keep a mental or even written list of the things you are grateful for in your life. When you hit a rough patch, review them and remind yourself why you are grateful for what is going on in your life. You can do these by topic. Make a list of what you are grateful in your job, in your spouse, etc.
Don’t focus on comparisons. What someone else has or what someone else makes. The problem is that people only compare themselves to those who have more or make more. No one ever compares themselves to people who have or make less. Therefore they make false comparisons. Just stay away from comparisons totally and you will find yourself much less stressed out.
Stake Your Life on What Satisfies Your Passion
Bring into your life what satisfies your passions. Nothing will bring happiness, stress-free living quicker than by doing things you enjoy. It may be art, a hobby, travel, a course on improving yourself in some way, even something as simple as listening to a foreign language tape on your daily commute. I know some of you are saying you don’t have time. There is always time to squeeze in something you like to do.
What you don’t want to do is fully stake your life on what you don’t like. What you focus on expands. Once again, view that situation as in the process of changing while you concentrate on those things that bring you joy.
Contentment of the Spirit
Mark Twain said that the master passion of man was the contentment of the spirit. That is what we are really striving for, just to be content. Go ahead and practice these steps and see what they bring you.
(Photo credit: Businessman looking up and relaxing with hands behind head via Shutterstock)