According to Swami Sivananda, the cravings will always try to place themselves at the forefront of our minds. We are flooded with marketers, friends, family, our culture, and our own ambitions , to do more, be more, see more, acquire more. So long as we can recognize the bombardment and not fall prey to it, we will open the door to observing how magnificent contentment can be. And the magnificent realization is that contentment can be found in our every day reality. Thus happiness can be found readily at our fingertips no matter how outstanding, or lack thereof, our lives look to the outside world.
“There is no end to craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Develop contentment.” —Swami Sivananda
The next question then, is how do we find this contentment and how do we maintain it?
Below I share 8 live coaching tools for cultivating contentment:
1) Practice gratitude
Being grateful for our lives exactly as they are right now, provides a mindset of knowing that things are not nearly as bad as we sometimes make them out to be. It allows for the realization that, although things could be better, they are manageable for the time being. It is impossible to develop contentment without gratitude—they are inseparable. focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.
Make a commitment to practice gratitude by letting gratitude be the last thought before you fall asleep, and your first thought when you wake up in the morning.
2) Ask yourself what is going well
So much goes well in our lives, each and every day, that is easy to become desensitized and accustomed to how fortunate we are. Recognize the countless details you take for granted. What is working well in your life today?
3) Be content with what you have, while you continue to grow.
Do something that keeps the flames of your dreams and hopes alive. Take pride in your person-hood and the progress that you have made so far, and continue improving. Contentment is not the same as complacency. Contentment invites you to always keep growing. learning and discovering.
4) Shift your perspective
Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things – specially of all the bad things that happen.
Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then, take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:
• Is the situation, really as bad as I think it is?
• Is there another way to look at the situation?
• What can I learn from this challenging experience that can help me evolve as a person?
5) Find your purpose
Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:
• What excites and energizes me?
• What are my proudest achievements?
• How do I want others to remember me?
6) Take control of your attitude.
A person who lacks contentment in their life will often engage in “when… and… then” thinking – “when I get _______, then I will be happy.” Instead, take control of your attitude. Contentment is finding satisfaction in your life as it is in the present moment, regardless of the circumstances.
7) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparing your life with someone else’s will always lead to discontentment. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. There will always be people who “appear” to seemingly be living the perfect life. You are unique. You are special. Affirm that your life is awesome in its own way.
8) Live in the moment
Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful.
Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life.