Do you know how to go beyond success to the beauty of contentment?
It’s easy, if you have a guide. This article represents some research from some wise souls in the area of contentment.
“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” Vernon Howard
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
What is Contentment?
Webster’s defines contentment as “the state of being contented.” And “contented” means “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation”
The Benefits of Contentment
In order to learn contentment, you have to know what’s in it for you. Fred Bryant, author of Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience, shares some of the benefits of contentment.
|Contentment by Lachlan Hartley on Flickr Creative Commons|
Contentment helps us make good decisions, reminding us of what has served us well in the past.
Contentment creates an upward spiral in our experiences, emotions, relationships, mental capacities.
Tips to Easily Learn Contentment
Savoring is a term from the study of positive psychology. or some of us, it takes work and the recognition that if we aren’t stopping to savor we are missing out on the reality of our lives. In some cases it may take an understanding of what those ‘good things’ are for each of us. Perhaps that’s one of the places where the ‘meaning’ branch of Seligman’s positive subjective experience intersects with the ‘pleasure’ branch
We can learn to savor. One of the strengths of positive psychology, according to Peterson and Seligman’s Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues, is the strength of “appreciation of beauty and excellence” There are ways we can learn to savor or mindfully engage in thoughts or behaviors that heighten the effect of positive events on positive feelings. According to author Fred Bryant, there are 3 forms of savoring:
a) Anticipatory –– getting excited while preparing for the experience, imagining what the experience will be like
b) In the Moment — be fully present, use all your senses to be present. Notice how things feel physically, use your eyes to fully see everything around you, smell the smells, hear the sounds, breathe deeply.
c) Reminiscent— this is the act of remembering, with gratitude, a pleasant experience. For example, I have an app on my iPhone (called Live Happy) in which I can take pictures during pleasant experiences (these moments include a date with my wife, going to the dog show with my son, or an afternoon out with my daughter, and even moments alone after a run at night).
2) Do Less Each Day
Use Pareto’s Principle to pare down your To Do list to only the most important things. For example, if you have 15 items on your daily To-Do list, use the 20/80 rule: 80% of your effectiveness will come from 20% of your activities. So multiply your To Do list by 20%, and you’ll need to shorten your To Do List down to the Big Three most important things to get done that day. Repeat the same process the next day. By having only 3 things to accomplish, you can be more relaxed while working on those three items.
3) Tame Your Negative Thoughts and Emotions
This suggestion comes from Oprah.Com. It is suggested that you take allow yourself only 9 minutes each day to complain, whine, and vent. Break your ‘negativity’ time into three breaks of three minutes apiece. By freeing your time up from negative thoughts and emotions, you will be giving your subconsious and conscious mind time to focus on positive solutions. If you don’t believe me, read a former post of mine called “Warning! Worrying May Be Good For Your Career!”
4) Cultivate Your Gratitude
Gratitude is commanded in the Bible over and over. But it’s not a chore: it’s a privilege! Our Creator knows how we are made! Gratitude is to contentment what electricity is to a light bulb. Without gratitude, it’s going to be awfully hard to cultivate the virtue of appreciation of who we are and what we have.
I suggest that you work on a gratitude list: Each night before going to bed, ask yourself, “What am I grateful for today?”
(You may also enjoy the list of power questions that I compiled in this article I wrote for the Advanced Life Skills blog).
5) Take a 20 minute vacation
Each day for one week, plan and participate in a daily vacation, a 20-minute or more period devoted to doing something you enjoy.
a. Avoid distractions during your vacation.
b. Notice how you feel and what you enjoy.
c. At the end of your vacation intentionally plan the next day’s vacation and anticipate it.
d. At the end of the day look back on your vacation and savor it.
e. At the end of the week recall all seven vacations and the positive feelings of them.
These are just a few suggestions. If you can think of some more ways to live a contented life, drop me a comment below!
Articles and Blogs Referenced for this Post:
Like What You’re Reading? Sign Up For More!