There's an old Tibetan saying that goes, "The moment we are content, we have enough." Sometimes in this life, it seems to be the other way around: The moment we have enough, we will be content.
Which is it for you?
Increasing evidence of spiralling stress, depression and anxiety is leading us to believe that life these days isn't actually making us happier and the constant pursuit of material things may be adding to this cycle of unhappiness. Finding contentment is a slow process, requiring effort far beyond the short-term fix of a new purchase.
Many studies clearly show how some particular activities can help in that quest:
Absorption in a single activity, instead of frantic multi-tasking, creates a state often referred to as ‘flow’ that helps to develop the higher-functioning cerebral cortex, and to push back the idea that fun should be sought at the expense of sanity.
Giving is one of the best ways to foster wellbeing and contentment. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences scanned people’s brains as they donated to a favourite charity and found that giving money lights up the brain’s reward system in a similar way that it does when receiving money.
Gratitude - Life can steer us into obsessing about what we don’t have, rather than what we already enjoy. Studies clearly show that people who nurture their sense of gratitude raise their energy, optimism and enthusiasm levels. An American Journal of Cardiology study shows that gratitude boosts people’s heart health.
Meditation - A study by Japan’s National Institute of Industrial Health of 600 workers who had been taught to meditate found that they had greatly improved emotional stability, showed less anxiety and neuroses, and had fewer chronic physical ailments.
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