What’s right in front of us but seems hidden?
The answer is really simple: happiness and contentment. Most of us will spend our entire lives trying to become happier and more at peace with ourselves.
Unfortunately, most people fail in this quest because they’re searching for contentment in all the wrong places.
The good news is that you can find that contentment in some pretty unexpected ways, and we’ve got a few easy ways you can get started!
You’ve probably heard the term “retail therapy.” It’s true that many people think they are just a single purchase away from true happiness. However, you can empty your entire bank account on purchases and still feel just as miserable as before.
Instead of retail therapy, you should take a retail vacation. Instead of logging into Amazon next time you feel unhappy, you should take the time to figure out what the actual cause is.
For example, maybe you want to buy a new outfit so that you can feel better about your appearance. Instead of making a purchase, you can take up daily exercise to release those endorphins and give you control of your life back.
Make Your Ideals More Ideal
Oftentimes, we experience a lack of contentment because we are comparing ourselves to some kind of ideal. Maybe you’re fretting that you don’t have the abs of your favorite movie star or the toned body of a famous Instagram model.
The problem here is that those “ideals” were never ideal for you. Comparing yourself to movie stars and models is neither realistic nor healthy. Instead, you should embrace ideals such as inner peace, spontaneous joy, and ongoing happiness.
Ultimately, idealizing some aspect of your physical appearance is like counting on a purchase to make you happy. These external things are never going to be enough to bring true inner peace.
Love What You Have
Stephen Stills gave the world some uncommon relationship advice: “if you can’t be with the one you love…love the one you’re with.” And with a little adaptation, this advice can help you with living a content life.
While you shouldn’t count on purchases to make you happy, you don’t have to live like an isolated monk. Instead, it’s just a matter of being happy with the things you already have.
Instead of being jealous of your friend’s new flat, for instance, you should be happy to have a home at all. Instead of daydreaming about a better job, you should be grateful for the opportunities your current job offers you.
Once you learn to be grateful for what you have instead of jealous of what you don’t have, happiness becomes the most natural thing in the world!
Happiness Is A Decision
Sometimes, the best advice is the kind you don’t want to hear. For example, here’s the simplest path to happiness: making the decision to be happy.
This all returns to the idea of turning your back on conditional happiness. That’s when we convince ourselves “I’ll be happy once I weigh less” or “I’ll be happy once I buy this new toy.”
Instead, we must learn to shorten that statement to this: “I’ll be happy.” This helps remind you that you are the only person in control of how you feel. More importantly, it helps you set a single goal that will completely transform your life.
Habits To Happiness
If you’re wondering how to be content, it’s not all a matter of sitting around in mindful meditation. For many people, it’s finding the inner strength to try new things and stretch boundaries in order to grow as a person.
However, it can be difficult to try new things because you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. It’s easy for those gnawing voices of doubt to make you question both your abilities and your potential.
That’s why it’s important to focus on your daily habits and to celebrate your daily accomplishments. By doing this regularly, you will build the confidence you need to challenge yourself by trying something new.
Pain? Just Painful Lessons
If you’re reading this, then you want to achieve a happier and more contented life. And that means you’re currently struggling with the kind of pain and misery that makes each day feel like a struggle.
While you can’t magically make the painful days go away, you can change how you perceive that pain. For example, instead of thinking “I’m a miserable person,” you can start thinking “I’m a growing person.”
Just as failure teaches us how to be more successful, pain can teach us how to be happier. Commit to handling this pain better each day until that pain no longer has the power to hold you back.
Stop Comparing Lives
Earlier, we touched on the dangers of idealizing movie stars and models. But many people have trouble practicing contentment because they are making comparisons that are much closer to home.
Maybe you see a friend’s vacation photos on Instagram and become jealous that you rarely take a holiday. Or you see a family member talking about their new whirlwind romance and begin to feel lonely because you don’t currently have a partner. But comparing yourself to the lives of others actually sabotages your happiness on a number of levels.
First, it brings you right back to conditional happiness. An exotic vacation or a new romance isn’t going to provide genuine contentment anymore than a new round of retail therapy.
Second, most people on social media are “faking it” to some extent. You’re not seeing a real-life–instead, you’re seeing curated posts designed to make them look far happier than they really are.
Once you stop focusing on everyone else’s happiness, you can finally start focusing on your own.
As you can tell, achieving contentment is not always easy. For many people, each new day represents a new journey to finding inner peace.
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Fortunately, you don’t have to make this journey on your own. With the help of your fellow travelers, you can make each day happier and more peaceful than the one before.
Tree photo created by kjpargeter – www.freepik.com