A Note on Contentment

by Eimear Donnelly, Clinical Psychotherapist

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have”

Contentment is a state of peace and appreciation and enjoyment for what is, right now.

Contentment is a state of mind, a feeling – not the by-product of a specific accomplishment. It does not automatically arise because we own or do the ‘right things’, though these may bring us some pleasure.

Nor it does come through reaching some predefined level of weight or shape, income, though it may feel like those things provide a feeling of security for a time. Contentment certainly has nothing to do with our status.

Contentment arises when we glimpse what it means to be present in the moment with no concern for the future or anxiety over the past.  

Contentment wells up when we become satisfied with and accept who we are, what we have, where we are, and that we are living by our own true values. It may last for minutes, hours or days. For the fortunate, it may last a lifetime.

Many things can trigger our awareness of our contentment, the sight of a love one, the kind action of a stranger, the satisfaction of completing a job well, the sight of an animal, the sound of bird song…it is unique for each person.

What things give you true feelings of contentment, peace, appreciation? Take a few minutes to note them.

Often, we are too busy or have heads are too full of worry and anxiety to notice these moments. During ‘stay at home’ restrictions, we have lots of time so try to make time for habits that engage your feelings of contentment.

‘Three good things’ exercise (Seligman and colleagues)