Want to be content with what you have in life? In reality, we might believe we are content, we are grateful – but are we truly?
When it comes down to it, feeling content can sometimes take practice.
This is especially the case if you’ve been having a hard time or if you’re moving through life so quickly that you forget to take a step back and appreciate what you have today.
Finding contentment in your day is what the base of happiness is all about.
Should You Be Content with What You Have?
Doesn’t this mean you don’t have goals or you don’t want to experience new things?
You can be content with what you have (ie. the things in your life) but this doesn’t mean you can’t have dreams and grow in meaningful ways.
What this does mean is you can appreciate what you have in life right now. If you can’t appreciate what you currently have, you’ll never appreciate having more.
What is Contentment?
What does contentment mean anyway?
The dictionary definition is the state of being happy and satisfied.
How you choose to achieve this contentment is personal to you and your values.
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How to be Content with What You Have: 12 Ways
1. Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Finding contentment in life starts with having an attitude of gratitude. Finding ways to be grateful every day.
This can be as simple as waking up in the morning and writing down what you’re grateful for in your journal, or making it a habit to look around you and appreciate the little gifts in your life.
As the saying ‘attitude of gratitude’ goes – it all starts (and ends) with your attitude and your view on life.
If you choose to find gratitude on a daily basis, being grateful will naturally come to you over time.
Get more inspiration with these articles:
- 52 Gratitude Journal Prompts To Increase Happiness
- 40 Inspiring Gratitude Quotes & Being Thankful Sayings
- 13 Ways to be Grateful for What You Have
2. Write a List of Things you Take for Granted
Can you think of things you take for granted that others could only dream of having?
- For someone who is childless, they are dreaming of the children you have in your arms
- For those who are stressed about planning a family vacation, imagine those who can’t afford to go anywhere
- That roof over your head, the food on your table, the job you have – people out there are struggling to have these things
We all have things in life we take for granted, but taking a step back and acknowledging how lucky you are to have these experiences, items and situations is a reason to be content with what you have.
Try writing a list and really think about what you have that others are praying and wishing for right now.
3. Write a ‘Went Well’ List Every Night
At the end of each day write a list of things that went well.
This is a great habit to start and will give you a little reminder that life is pretty good. Even in times of struggle, I bet you can still write a list of what went well, every day.
Here are some examples you could use:
- Finishing your to-do list
- A good family dinner
- You had a great chat with your neighbour
- Having the perfect cup of tea
- Joking with a colleague at work
- Not buying something you don’t need
- Drinking a healthy smoothie
- Reading a chapter from your book
- Having a wonderful hug
Whatever went well for you, write it down. I bet you’ll discover that your day was pretty good – even if you didn’t realize it.
But what about bad days? Okay I know, every day can’t be great and it might be hard to think about things that went well when everything genuinely feels that it went horribly.
If you’re in this situation I encourage you to try some other tactics from this article and see if you can boost your mood.
4. Learn How to Successfully Fail
This definitely sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out.
Learning how to fail by learning from your experience leads to positive growth.
When something doesn’t work out, doesn’t go the way you want, doesn’t succeed – you will discover what you can do to improve next time.
Successfully failing can be beneficial to all aspects of life from relationships, to career, to parenting.
Relationships: A failed relationship can show you what not to look for in a partner next time around. Or, help you see what you really want in a relationship to be happy.
Career: Not meeting your goals for the quarter at work will help you think about taking a different approach next time. It will encourage you to try new tactics to meet and exceed your goals. Trial and error help us grow in our careers.
Parenting: Your kid has a temper tantrum because you didn’t buy them as ice cream cone at the park. This probably feels like a parenting fail. So this will encourage you to speak to other parents, seek parenting advice online or find a new way to communicate with your child that their behaviour is not acceptable.
5. Enjoy the Simple Pleasures in Life
The breeze, birds chirping, a hot cup of tea, a child’s laugh – those are just a few things that bring me joy.
Enjoying the simple pleasures in life is truly that simple. Focus on the little things that make you feel good, that lift you up.
When you take note of what makes you happy you’ll begin to notice these simple pleasures come into your day – every day and without any effort.
So, slow down and look around. I bet you can come up with a list of simple pleasures that you love.
In fact – share a few with me in the comments section below 🙂 I’d love to hear them.
6. Learn How to Turn a Negative into a Positive
When something negative happens the easiest thing is to dwell in negativity – to focus on how bad the situation is or how it will negatively impact your life.
However, this can make a negative situation far worse if you continue to ruminate.
Learning to accept a negative situation can be easy at times or completely impossible at others times depending on the severity of the situation.
If the negative feeling or situation you’re experiencing is a little thing that you know you can move on from, I recommend you do the following:
- Write down what’s bothering you to help you let it go.
- Look at the negative situation and see if you can think of a positive outcome of letting this go. Now write this down too.
- Next, do something that makes you feel good. It could be a simple pleasure as mentioned earlier in the article such as calling a friend, walking your dog or listening to a great playlist.
By doing these 3 simple things, I promise that you’ll be able to move on easier than focusing on what’s bothering you.
Now, if you have a large problem that’s not going to be solved any time soon, I want you to do the following:
- Talk to someone who cares about you. Tell them how you’re feeling. The act of communicating what’s got you down helps you release this negative feeling a little easier.
- Consider trying a mood tracker like this one I created, to help you identify your feelings throughout the day. This will help you find activities to avoid (that make you feel low) and other activities/situations you can focus on instead (that lift you up).
- If you have a hard time moving on from this negative situation, I always recommend connecting with a therapist to talk it out. Everyone can benefit from therapy no matter what you’re dealing with.
7. Create New Experiences
When you focus on creating new experiences this gives you the opportunity to look forward to something positive or exciting.
Trying new things gives us a new lease on life.
Creating new experiences can be things such as:
- Trying a new hobby
- Learning a skill
- Meeting different people
- Trying a new cuisine
- Learning about different religions
- Discovering new areas of your city to explore
- Practising self-care
Whether it’s planning a trip, taking a course, starting a book club or making new friends; new experiences connect us directly to feelings of happiness and contentment.
8. Focus on a Purposeful Life
Having a purpose and following your values with daily intention can lead to true contentment.
By being purposeful on a daily basis you’ll feel more accomplished and you’ll be able to choose the kind of day you’d like to have.
- Choose joy
- Choose to focus on positivity
- Choose to be grateful.
If you want to live with more intention in life here are 15 ways you can be intentional today. Give one of them a try!
9. Cherish & Work on Your Relationships
According to the longest ever done study on happiness, good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Leaning into these relationships will provide you with a level of contentment and happiness everyone is seeking.
Learn more about this 75-year long study in this thought-provoking TED talk from Robert Waldinger; a professor at Harvard Medical School who is known for his findings from this Grant Study…
What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness
- Cherish the positive relationships you do have
- Look for the good in them
- Show your gratitude to people who make a difference in your life
- Work on the relationships that matter to you – they are worth it
10. Discover the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle
Living a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t only apply to your design aesthetic or living with minimal items in your home. A minimalist lifestyle is also about living a simple life.
There are so many amazing benefits to minimalism such as having more time to do what matters, growing your savings, being kinder to the environment, doing what you love.
By living a more minimal lifestyle helps you be content with what you have – as you’ve only brought things into your life that provide functionality or bring you joy.
11. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
That little thing you keep stressing over… Does it really matter?
Is it worth you getting yourself upset with worry?
Learning how to stop sweating the small stuff can take some practice, but it’s well worth it.
The effects of stress on the body can actually lower our lifespan, so there is absolutely no benefit to holding on to things that don’t matter in the big picture.
But, the question is how?
- Compare: Think about a big problem in life – one you’ve had or others have. That thing you are stressed about that you can’t let go of… how does it measure up to that big problem? A little perspective can go a long way to helping you look past that little thing that bothers you.
- Look for the Root Cause: There’s a good chance that ‘the little thing’ you’re stressed about is actually not what’s bothering you. It could be there’s a bigger issue and you’re just focusing on the little things because you don’t want to deal with the bigger problem. So take a step back and really think about what is concerning you.
- Give Yourself a Time Limit: I love this tip from HuffPo. They recommend that if you absolutely must focus on this little thing that’s bothering you – do it within a small amount of time (5 minutes) and then let it go. Don’t hold on.
Learning to not sweat the small stuff can be hard at times, but this is where you can also use the skill of turning a negative into a positive, as discussed earlier in this article.
For example: When I see that my house is a mess with kid stuff I could think ‘Argh!! I hate this mess’.
But instead, I think about how tidy my house will be when my son grows up and moves out. Sure – it’ll be tidy, but too quiet as well. So I learn to embrace sports equipment, video games and school work as this means I’m lucky enough to have a family.
12. Create Balance
Creating balance can be massively beneficial to your happiness. After all, these days who doesn’t feel like they’re drowning in all the things?
Creating balance in various parts of your life can be achieved by doing these few things:
- Ask for Help. Whether you need help from your family or your boss, asking for help (and being very specific about your ask) really does work. Related: How to Ask for Help to Create Balance
- Create Time for Self-Care. You might think “self-care” seems impossible or cliché, however, I challenge you to dedicate 30 minutes a day (minimum), just for you. You can do anything with this time, just make sure it’s something that brings you joy. For inspiration, check out these Self Care Sunday ideas you can try any day of the week.
Quotes on Being Content With What You Have
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
“He who is not content with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates
“Content people don’t always have the best of everything, but they make the best of everything.” – Rachel Cruze
“Change your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” – Tony Robbins
Why Aren’t You Content with what you have?
This is a hard question to ask yourself but I strongly encourage you to reflect on this, otherwise, you may find yourself in the endless cycle of…
You want something > you feel lesser because you don’t have it > you eventually get it > you enjoy it for 5 minutes > repeat.
This process will go on and on and on until you choose to break the cycle.
But, What if I Can’t Find Anything to be Content About?
If you start going through this exercise and you find it’s not helping I want you to consider two things:
- Can you remove areas in your life that make you unhappy or can you introduce new experiences to bring you joy?
- Consider talking to your doctor. Why? A main sign of depression is when you no longer have joy or contentment in life. You may do things you used to love and they do nothing for you now. If you think this could be you, know that you CAN get through this with help. There are resources out there to support you and the best place to start is by talking to your doctor.
How to Be Content with What You Have: Summary
Being content with what you have is the difference between feeling unhappy or unsatisfied in life and embracing your life as it is today.
This enables you to have a choice as to how your life rolls out. Is this a choice you’d like to make?
With the 12 tips in this article, I recommend focusing on one area at a time – ideal for every month of the year! Or, if you’d like to move faster focus on one task, one week at a time.
There is no specific order so choose what resonates with you most today.
Related Articles on Being Content:
- The Importance of Gratitude & How to be Grateful in Life
- How to Practise Daily Gratitude + Easy Gratitude Exercises
- 70 Good Daily Habits to Improve Your Life
For more inspiration and to get the latest post from Put The Kettle On, let’s connect!