“Being ‘contented’ ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought to not mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
This powerful quote defines what it means to be content with life.
Some people view being content as a negative. They think you should never feel content and should always strive for growth.
However, as Chesterton points out, contentedness isn’t about being stuck with where you are in life.
What is Contentment?
Contentment, or contentedness, is a state of being satisfied with what you have, where you are and who you are. Being content means you’re happy with your current state and don’t need or want anything more to maintain your level of happiness.
The opposite of contentment is dissatisfaction or unhappiness.
Being content about being able to appreciate where you are at that moment in time instead of sulking about what you don’t have or constantly thinking the grass is greener on the other side.
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and wanting more from your life. After all, you only get one so you might as well make the most of it. But don’t get so caught up that you can’t attain happiness from the present. That’s where contentment comes into play.
If you just can’t seem to be satisfied and appreciate the present moment in time, here are 15 tips to be content in life.
How to be Content:
1. Do What You Love
Whenever you do what you love, no matter the activity, you find yourself happier.
So many people are stuck in activities they find boring. And the number one culprit is their jobs.
The average person spends over 20% of their total waking hours at work. So you might as well do something you enjoy.
Doing what you love makes being content much easier. It boosts your self-esteem and your self worth, and makes you more motivated to try new things in life as well.
2. Be Grateful
Try practicing gratefulness by learning to enjoy and appreciate what you already have.
One of the reasons people struggle to be content is because they spend more time focusing on the things they don’t have rather than the things they already have. That’s why it’s helpful to develop a basic gratitude practice. You can read this article for tips on how to practice gratitude every day.
When you take stock of everything you have (friends, family, possessions, health), you’ll find things to be happy about. Chasing away the negative thoughts creates room for a better perceptive in life. Even when challenges arise, you’re able to count your losses and move on without feeling miserable.
Always remember that no matter how little you have, there’s always someone out there with less. That’s the key to being a more grateful person.
3. Appreciate the Small Things in Life
Who doesn’t want to live a simple and happy life?
Focus on the little things that give you pleasure like taking a walk, playing with a pet or the feeling of warm sunlight on your face on a beautiful summer day.
When you recognize the value of the simple things, you’ll realize that most of them are free.
You can make time from your busy schedule to just relax and enjoy the small joys that make life worth living. Feel the sun on your skin, have a conversation with a friend or check up on your parents.
It’s the little things that make you feel better about life, and in turn, become a more content person.
4. Serve Others
When you put your resources to serving others, you learn to be content.
It will make you appreciate what you own and have to offer. Plus, adding a little ray of happiness to others will naturally make you happy. Seeing the fruits of your assistance grow and make someone’s life better, in turn, reflects back to you, and allows you to achieve true happiness!
Giving back and lending a helping hand allows you to see the value in what you currently have, whether it’s donating your time, skills or money. The fact that you’re able to give something is a sign that you’re in a good position.
5. Accept Yourself
Accepting yourself for who you are gives you unlimited freedom to happiness.
Seeing the happiness that already resides in you opens up the path to enjoying external happiness.
If you can’t make yourself happy, no one can because happiness is rooted inside you.
You owe yourself the same amount of love you show others. Understanding and accepting everything that you are makes it easier for others to accept you, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
6. Be Positive
If you’re struggling to understand how to feel content with yourself, try being positive.
Always identifying yourself in a positive light, chases the negativity away.
When you choose positivity and focus on the good things, the real you gets an opportunity to shine. Positive vibes attract other positive events. If you want to be surrounded by happiness, it’s high time you left the negativity behind.
Always see the good in people and situations. And always assume positive intent. It opens your eyes to new opportunities and relationships.
Being negative has no benefits to your life. So place negative thoughts aside and try to always keep a positive state of mind.
7. Be Your Best Friend
Making yourself the first center of crisis resolution enables you to look within.
You’ll be able to identify with yourself in a relationship that lasts forever. Be kind to yourself as you would a friend.
Being your own friend means you’ll always be on the lookout for things that will benefit you. It makes you understand that you need to love yourself in order to grow in happiness.
You won’t be out trying to compete with other people just to acquire appreciation because you’ll already appreciate yourself. And the end result is being content.
Take time out from everything and meditate.
It clears away the stresses of everyday life and enables you to focus on positive energy. In fact, according to our own research, stress reduction and anxiety relief are the top reasons why people meditate.
Meditation also stimulates the part of the brain that makes you feel good.
And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take too much time. In fact, 88% of people meditate for 30 minutes or less.
It never hurts to take happiness wherever you find it. Especially if it’s within yourself.
Work on balancing your life’s energies. If you’re new to meditation, here are some helpful resources:
- How to Clear Your Mind for Meditation: 6 Simple Tips
- 7 Meditation Benefits You’re Missing Out On
- 8 Types of Meditation You Can (And Should) Practice Every Day
9. Have Goals
Having goals gives you something to look forward to. A purpose-driven life ultimately gives you content.
As you reach every goal, you feel happier and appreciate more of what you have. It gives you something to hold on to.
Being grounded helps you realize what’s around you that needs to change or get improved.
10. Don’t Compare Achievements
Trying to keep up with the status quo is one of the quickest ways to take away your inner peace and lose that contented spirit you’re after. So instead of playing the comparison game, be happy about all the wins you get in your daily life.
Every achievement should be celebrated.
Comparing yourself with others only makes you miserable. Be sure to understand that you are two different people under different circumstances.
Comparing yourself with others only breeds jealousy. Sure it’s tempting to be jealous when you’re scrolling through Instagram and see other people living exciting lives.
But that’s a negative emotion that neither builds you nor others. Plus, always remember that no matter how exciting someone else’s life might look online, everyone has their own challenges that nobody else can see.
So why hold on to something toxic that only hurts your relationships? You’ll never be happy if you keep comparing yourself to the whole world.
Remember, you’re on your own personal journey. Just do you and appreciate that, and you’ll be well on your way to living a more fulfilling life.
11. Forgive Yourself
We all make mistakes and do things we regret. Forgiving yourself for all the things you feel you’ve done wrong, alleviates the guilt and shame from your life.
It gives you space to focus on loving yourself and makes your heart lighter.
Guilt only serves to drag you down and develop resentment (which is the opposite of a contented life). Try to see yourself as someone who wants to improve. Make that your new self image. That way, the forgiveness will come easier and you’ll ultimately learn from your mistakes.
12. Choose to be Content
Being content is a choice.
So while you may want to be content, sometimes you forget to choose it.
Start by deciding how good your life is going to be and set realistic positive intentions. When you choose happiness over everything else, you become content.
13. Live in the Present
It’s easy to get caught up in events of the past. However, this will make you miss out on the present and get further away from living a contented life.
Your thoughts and actions should be based on now. Not what happened last year or what might happen next month. Your current happiness, goals and responsibilities all depend on you being fully present today.
The future is important too, but worrying about it now serves no purpose and won’t get you any closer to experiencing true contentment. If you improve your situation in the present, your future will surely benefit.
It’s better to focus on the ‘now’ than the ‘will be’.
14. Accept Things You Cannot Change
There are many circumstances in life that you can’t change. The mistakes you’ve made, conditions of your upbringing, the past.
All you can do is accept them and move on. Wasting your energy on things that “might have been” only frustrates you and makes it impossible to be content. If you truly want to live a contented life, learn that you can’t change everything!
15. Focus on the Essentials
Only you can tell what’s important to your wellbeing and what’s not.
Look into yourself and figure out what you already have that makes you content and what’s unnecessary. You can then get rid of the excess and focus on the essentials.
Once you’re able to de-clutter the unnecessary things, you give room for the important things to grow.
How to be Content With Your Life
To recap, here are some tips to become a more contented person:
- Do what you love
- Express gratitude (keeping a gratitude diary or journal can help)
- Enjoy the simple things
- Serve others
- Accept yourself
- Be positive
- Be your own best friend (don’t be afraid of alone time!)
- Set goals
- Don’t compare achievements
- Forgive yourself
- Choose to be content
- Live in the present
- Accept things you can’t change
- Focus on the essentials
At the end of the day, its up to you to decide what’s important in life.
You hold the key to your own happiness. Most things that bring content aren’t bought or costly. They might be right in front of you.
All you have to do is open yourself to experience them.