We all have those moments where we feel totally restless and bored with life. Sometimes it’s goes away once you switch up your routine or try something new, but other times it gets to the point where you’ve been feeling unfulfilled with your life for weeks, months, and maybe even years.
One of the main reasons this feeling lingers is because we’re searching for happiness. To me, happiness is a strange concept. I don’t believe that anyone can really find happiness because it’s a state of being, not an object. It’s also not likely that anyone can be in a continual state of happiness if they do find it since life is always throwing curveballs at us.
Instead of falling into the happiness trap, I’m a big advocate for living with contentment.
Contentment, or the state of being content, is about peaceful satisfaction. It involves appreciating what you have and where you are in life, rather than wishing things were different. Of course, I’m not saying you should simply settle for a life that doesn’t bring you joy. Rather, you should continue to dream big, set goals for yourself, and work towards them diligently – just remember to enjoy the journey and not rush to make it happen.
The strange thing about contentment is that it’s possible to feel fulfilled inside yet have outer struggle at the same time. That’s because contentment celebrates the good in your life while simultaneously working through the bad. Whereas happiness may come and go, being content is something you can continually work towards.
If you’re hoping to cultivate more contentment in your life, here are seven ways to help you with your journey!
Live your values
When your actions and thoughts are in line with your values, you are able to be your authentic self more easily. Being your authentic self is ultimately going to provide you with a greater sense of contentment.
What do I mean by values? Values are essentially what we care about most in life. They provide us with motivation, they give us energy and/or calm us down, and they give us a sense of fulfillment. Values are what drive you toward what it is you want out of life.
If you find that you are dissatisfied with life or constantly thinking about the future, ask yourself if you’re honoring your values in your daily life. If not, make a plan to honor them every day.
Not sure what your values are? Here’s an extensive list of values to choose from. Go down the list and write down any that pop out at you. The goal is to narrow the list down to about five values that are the most important to you. If you’re having trouble identifying your values, think about the things that make you feel motivated, passionate, fulfilled, and rewarded.
Related post: Are you a high-value person? Here’s how to tell.
Nourish your mind, body, and soul
I talk about this a lot on my blog, but it’s only because I legitimately believe it’s so important. If you want to feel more content with the way you are now, start taking care of yourself inside and out. Sometimes we stay focused on the future because we imagine ourselves healthier, slimmer, happier, etc., but the only way to get to that state is to take action right now. There are plenty of ways to take care of yourself, but here are some ideas:
- 30 ideas to nourish your mind, body, and soul
- 5 mindset shifts that make healthy living easier
- 10-minute chair yoga for stress relief
- How to start a self-care routine
Play up your strengths
We spend a lot of our lives trying to change what we don’t like about ourselves. If we aren’t changing them, we’re complaining about them. It’s hard to shake off the mentality that we have to be good at everything, but the reality is that everyone will have their weaknesses.
Rather than focusing on what I’m not good at, I’ve learned that it can be so much more beneficial and productive to continue developing my current skills and strengths. A great resource for discovering your strengths is this Character Strengths Survey (you have to make an account, but it’s free). Once you’ve pinpointed your strengths, think about how you can use them to the best of your ability. This way you can spend less time dwelling on the things you don’t like about yourself and more time living a fulfilling life by emphasizing the parts that you do like.
P.S. In case you’re nosy, my strengths are humor, love of learning, good judgment, social intelligence, and creativity.
Embrace your curiosity
We often repress our curiosity because we can’t see the value it might add to our lives. I know I’m always curious about other people, but I tend to shy away from asking questions because I’m afraid of coming across as nosy. There are also certain activities I’m curious to try like kayaking and paragliding, but something always holds me back from signing up for sessions.
If you’re feeling bored with your life, never downplay the power of curiosity. Asking questions and learning about new things can give us so many answers, even to questions we never knew we had. We can either embrace our curiosity or spend our whole lives wondering what it might have been like to talk to so-and-so or do this-and-that. Be curious about everything, and you’ll never be bored.
Start a mindfulness practice
A mindfulness practice is one of the best ways to cultivate inner peace and reduce stress. The definition of mindfulness is being present in the moment without judgment aka the ultimate way to find contentment wherever you may be. Mindfulness is about appreciating where you are without striving to change anything or make something happen. If you want to start enjoying your life more, try doing something three days a week that will help you to stop living in the past/future, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or a nature walk.
Reverse the negativity bias
We as humans have a knack for focusing on the negative. We make a huge deal about the things that go wrong in our lives, yet when something good happens, it has less of an impact on us. There’s actually something called the negativity bias which says we react to and learn from negative stimuli more intensely than positive stimuli.
To reverse this negativity bias, we need to focus on fully experiencing the positive experiences in our lives. When something good happens to you, try to really savor the moment. Write it down, take a picture or video, tell somebody about it – anything to keep it alive as long as you can. Feel it becoming a part of you. This doesn’t mean you need to suppress the negative things that happen, but rather give the positive things more attention.
Related post: 5 quotes to inspire a positive mindset
Keep a gratitude log
Often when we hear about expressing gratitude, we think of the people and things that we’re grateful for. Our friends, family, partners, home, car, food, etc. Of course it really does help put things into perspective when you think of your life without those things, but I would say to go even deeper when it comes to gratitude.
Think about your accomplishments, how you handled your day, how your own values came into play, which strengths you’re grateful for, what you’re proud of, what you’re excited about, and what’s good in your life right now. Most of the time we forget to be grateful for ourselves, so start giving yourself a little more daily self-love through a gratitude log.
How do you find contentment in your life? Leave a comment below!