Contentment and How to Have More of it in Your Life

By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN

Author of The Happiness Result

I surprised myself one day. It was during a family vacation and I felt so connected to the scenery around me, the warm weather, and the people I was with. All of a sudden, I turned to my husband and said, “I’m content.” It’s not a word that I tend to use. To describe my feelings, I typically say, that I feel “great”, “awesome”, or “happy.”

I remember it well. It was two months ago during my family’s summer vacation with my husband and three boys. It’s been a tradition since our boys were school-age. And even though our oldest lives in an apartment and our middle is in college, they still look forward to our annual family get-away. I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when we start discussing details of our trips. This year our vacation destination was Montreal, Canada.

Our 6-hour drive was a breeze. We stopped for a country breakfast in New Hampshire and listened to a Harry Potter audio book the rest of the way. Montreal had changed since I was there last in high school. This time it seemed bigger and busier. We fell in love with Montreal right away because of the mixture of the new and the old buildings, the quaint little restaurants, and the majestic churches. It was a fantastic city to experience on foot. We delighted walking around the city.

Then one day it happened. My family and I were walking from one end of the city to the next and a sweet and warm feeling consumed me. Out of nowhere, I said to my husband that I felt content. At that very moment, it felt like all the stars were in alignment. The skies were blue, a gentle breeze was blowing and I was there in Montreal with my family. That moment has embedded itself deep into my heart and mind. 

What does contentment mean?

One of the definitions of content that I found in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is a feeling of being satisfied. That was exactly how I was feeling that day. Even though, I knew there were areas in my life that still need improving, there were bills to be paid, and I was getting older by the minute, my awareness of them did not cloud how blessed I felt in that very moment.

How is contentment different from happiness?

While both contentment and happiness have been used interchangeably, they are different. The biggest difference between these two feelings is that contentment is a delicious blend of appreciation, mindfulness, satisfaction, and connectedness. It is long lasting. Happiness on the other hand is a more dynamic state of being and is often short lasting.

Here’s how you can gain more contentment in your life for the next seven days.

  1. Stop and look around every chance you get.
  2. Notice what you have, what’s working well, and appreciate it.
  3. Look around at the people who make your life better.
  4. State your contentment to yourself or to another person.

In the next seven days, I invite you to slow down enough to savor all the goodness around you. When you do, you will find magical moments of contentment that can bring so much richness to your life.

If you need coaching on how to cultivate contentment into your life, contact me for coaching at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com . Your goodness is waiting for you.

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