January 25, 2012

How To Be Content

Being happy is a big deal these days, they have seminars about it and people write and sell books giving you tips on how “You too can be happy.”

Money doesn’t buy happiness

Researchers have done studies on what makes people content and the number one thing that doesn’t do it is money. People always think if I had X amount of money more on my pay check I’d be doing great. Those same people get promoted, find a better paying job or win the lottery and are the same discontent individuals they were prior to the increase. Why?

People with more money, have more responsibility and stress.

The key to happiness will not be found in things or even people. Being satisfied with what you have or where you are in life is all up to you.

There are people in third world countries living in shacks scraping by just to eat every day and those folks are happy. They know about riches and are fully aware of what they don’t have but the difference is they are okay with where they are, they don’t sit around moping and wishing for more. I’m sure they’d enjoy having it a bit easier but they aren’t feeling sorry for themselves or holding grudges for people holding better positions in life.

The trick is finding a way to be fine in our current circumstances. What is their secret? Why are they not bothered with the lack of money, food or accommodations?

Americans are some of the least satisfied people in the world and the most financially well off. To a third world country, even our poor people are doing better financially than they are.

It’s the way we are raised. We grow up with a sense of entitlement. We’ve all heard of the American dream and how we are all “entitled” to it. The problem with that way of thinking is when we don’t all have a 500,000 square foot home, yacht and fleet of cars we start to feel like we’ve been somehow cheated. "So and So has those things and I should too."

Life doesn’t work that way. Some people have skills, talents or just lucky enough to make a lot of money in this world and just because they have it and I don’t doesn’t mean I should blame them or expect the same.

There will always be people with more and also many with a lot less. Take a trip to the bad part of town or where the homeless folks live and you’ll start to feel better about your situation. Even if you are homeless yourself, you still have something someone else doesn’t have.

“I cried because I didn’t have shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

What do you have to be thankful for?

Look around you at all you have. Make a list of the great things in your life each morning it can be a mental list. Do this everyday and you’ll have a wonderful start to a much happier life.

Health- even if your health isn’t great unless it’s life threatening there is always someone out there in worse condition than you.

A famous comedian once said: "Every morning I read the obituaries and if my name isn’t there I know it’s going to be a good day."

Significant Other- there are many lonely people in this world who don’t have someone to share their life with. Your sweetie may not be perfect but at least you have them.

Children- our kids are a joy even when they drive us nuts. When they are grown and gone you’ll look back at the difficult times and laugh.

Family- having those with common history and tales is great.

Friends- someone to talk to, do things with and listen to our stories.

Possessions- no matter what we have, we enjoy our stuff and wouldn’t want to part with it. It might not be much but it’s ours.

Employment- even if you feel your job is not great at least you have one. There are many who would love to have any vocation even trash collecting.


When you smile those around you will smile back and it will make you feel better. Happiness is contagious and even if you don’t feel like it if you put on a pleasant expression eventually it will improve your mood. Being around smiling faces always uplifts our spirits even if we started it.

Be silly, it works for me.

Stay away from negative people

Like I said, moods are contagious and if you spend very much time around sad or angry people eventually they pull you down to their level. Sometimes we can’t help working or living with curmudgeons but if you try to limit your time with them or use the “smile” technique to improve their mood you’ll feel better.