The final entry in the Ten Principles of Yoga is called santosha. This translates to contentment, and it is Silent Mind’s mindfulness goal for the month of August.
While contentment may seem like a lofty yogic virtue to some, we can find more of it through mindfulness.
Happiness vs. Contentment
It’s important to understand the difference between happiness and contentment. Happiness comes with smiles, laughter, positivity. Contentment does not have to feature any of these; it is more about acceptance than victory.
Just think about how we are always looking to attain happiness. We’ll be happy IF we get that job or lose this weight. Contentment is gratitude and acceptance of the job and weight we are currently at. Even if just for ten minutes, we are not searching frantically outside of ourselves for a reason to feel happy.
At this moment, we are content. We are satisfied. This too can be a source of happiness, but it’s one we didn’t have to buy, chase, or achieve. It was just sitting there inside, waiting to be noticed and appreciated.
Are you satisfied? If not, look within. Here’s how we can make August the Month of Contentment.
Mindfulness Every Day.
When you think about it, contentment is the main point mindfulness was trying to teach us all along. When we’re mindful, we notice the sun shining on our faces. When we eat mindfully, we realize when we are satiated. When we listen to mindfully, we learn important things about the people we love.
All of this leads to more moments of contentment.
If we’re always on the lookout for the next thing to make us happy, we’re not appreciating what we already have. Therefore, cultivating contentment means we have to practice gratitude.
Here are some different ways to be grateful:
- Mindfully watch for complaints and criticisms you make.
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Make an art piece or “vision board” of things you’re grateful for.
- Compliment people when they do or say something positive.
- Make time for someone.
- Watch, listen and read things with a positive message or that feel personally uplifting to you.
- Send a Thank You card to someone who isn’t expecting it.
- Identify what you can learn from a tough challenge.
One interesting benefit we get from gratitude and contentment with what we have is that we want less. When you are feeling content, you are less likely to feel as though a new pair of shoes will make you happy.
Here are some ideas on how to find contentment with what you have by eliminating the “more, more, more” mindset:
- Have an appliance or electronic serviced or repaired instead of buying new.
- Cook and eat mindfully so meals feel more special and you’re not left wanting something else.
- Find a new way to wear the clothing you have.
- Take inventory of your belongings; you’ll find things you forgot about that can be appreciated now.
What makes you feel content? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to let us know how you met your July Mindfulness Goals.