Learning how to be content is an excellent way to reduce your stress. When you feel totally content with how your life is going and what you already have, you eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress from your life.
What does it mean to be content?
Someone who is content doesn’t long for things they don’t need. Instead, they appreciate everything they already have and feel satisfied that they are comfortable enough in life without having any big luxuries or unnecessary items to make them feel happiness.
For example, someone who is content with what they have in life likely has all their basic needs met, like personal safety, food, clean water, clothing, shelter, and companionship.
Why does a lack of contentment cause stress?
When you aren’t feeling content with your life, it’s difficult to feel satisfied or relaxed. Rather than being able to appreciate what you already have, you struggle to see your blessings among your thoughts of “could haves” and “what ifs.”
For example, you may have all your basic needs met, but when you see a neighbor with the latest and greatest gadgets, you may lose sight of how well-off you truly are in the midst of their luxurious purchases.
Unfortunately, people often discover that even when they do seek out luxuries to try and find contentment, the feelings of satisfaction often don’t last very long. Once they secure something they thought they needed to achieve true happiness, they spot something else they feel like they need in order to feel satisfied again. Once that new object or item is obtained, the cycle begins with something else soon after.
Besides causing excess stress, how else can a lack of contentment harm you?
While the excess stress is harmful enough, not feeling content with what you already have can cause problems in many other parts of your life. For example, you may also notice trouble caused by a lack of contentment in….
- Your finances: When you don’t feel content with what you already own, you may make unnecessary purchases chasing that satisfaction with new items you don’t really need.
- Your relationships: When you don’t feel content with the good relationships you already have, you may take them for granted. After a while, these people may lose patience with you because you don’t fully commit to them and appreciate them.
- Your mental health: When you don’t feel contentment, your mental health can suffer dramatically. Besides stress, you can push your body to unhealthy limits (for example, feeling like you aren’t thin enough or attractive enough can convince you to treat your body poorly).
How can you increase the contentment you feel in your life?
One of the best ways to increase your contentment levels is to practice gratitude. People choose to highlight their feelings of gratitude differently, but the most important thing to remember when practicing gratitude is to do it consistently. By giving yourself these constant reminders of gratitude, it’s easier to remember all the great blessings and positivity you already have in your life.
Some people like to keep a gratitude journal; when they think of something that they feel grateful about, they jot it down inside the journal so they can revisit their thoughts and remember what they feel grateful for on a regular basis.
Others turn their gratitude into mantras or other spoken reminders – they may begin each day by repeating a mantra that addresses different things they feel gracious for in their lives.
Regardless of how you do it, expressing gratitude is the best way to increase the amount of contentment you have in your life.