Why we should be striving for contentment

Recently I went on a training course at work (a systems engineering short course – I live a glamorous life) and as a starter activity we were asked to call out what we believe a successful life looks like. For me, I sat there thinking of things like ‘no money worries’, ‘good health’ and ‘happiness’. The former two indeed went on the list, but the latter did not. Instead of ‘happiness’, many people called out ‘contentment’.

And this surprised me. Contentment? Isn’t that just being satisfied? Settling with what you have? Surely happiness trumps contentment? We should always be looking to improve, not just settle. Since the course and until a couple of days ago, this continued to baffle me. As someone who has gone through their own stress-filled, reclusive period in their life, I now want to be happy. I want to have a healthy work-life balance, be ambitious, laugh (a lot) and take as much enjoyment from life as possible. I want the highs. Sure, they’re going to be interspersed with lows but I want to strive for happy moments, not just settling for what I have.

And then the other morning it all made sense. I was sitting in my lounge, it was about 8.30 am and I’d been awake (annoyingly because it was the weekend) since half-five. The curtains were pulled back, the sky grey but brightening. All the side-lamps were on, some acoustic yadda-yadda playing in the background and I was sat there, in the middle of the sofa, in amongst far too many cushions and under a delightfully-tacky fluffy blanket and I felt it. Contentment. And it was just really really lovely.

Contentment

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New Year

New Year’s Resolutions have never been something I’ve taken seriously. As someone of weak will-power and low self-control, drastic plans to change how I live from January 1st have never come to fruition. However, this year (as I now consider myself a full-time 9-5 working, free-to-do-whatever-I-want-at-the-weekend-ing, sofa-owning adult) I’m really hoping to set and achieve a couple of goals that might make my life happier and healthier! So here they are, written out so that I have no choice but to stick to them:

Drink more water
This one should really just be ‘drink’ because I am absolutely terrible at drinking full stop: I can easily get to the evening without drinking anything whatsoever and then I wonder why I have a horrible headache… One of the top things we should do in our daily lives is drink plenty of water: for our skin, our energy-levels and our mental wellbeing. There are lots of things out there to help: from apps (here’s a great list) to drinks bottles (HydrateM8 looks a dream!) to just keeping tally on a post-it or diary page each day. But I think what I will really need is dedication and a good memory to grab a glass!

Frost on the Grass

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