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Learn the Art of Contentment and Reduce the Stress in Your Life

Learn the Art of Contentment and Reduce the Stress in Your Life

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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)

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

    More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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