ContentmentIn the last post, I listed twelve suggestions for managing more intense emotions and living a contented life. Today’s post has the remaining thirteen. There are many more ideas that are not listed.

When you’re feeling upset, it’s difficult to problem-solve or think of what actions might help. Keeping a list of what works for you could be an important step for coping successfully.  It’s also true that building strong basics in your life will help you cope more effectively when you are faced with pain.

13: For this week, notice something YOU did right each day. Sometimes people focus so much on what needs to change that they forget how much is perfect just as it is. This is related to noticing what went right, only this time it’s about your actions, what you did right. Remember small right actions add up, so count the small steps.

14: Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a good friend. Remember that we know punishment doesn’t work to motivate people, punishment only stops behavior. Calling yourself names is punishment. Accept yourself in all your humanness.

15: Identify your values and then spend the time you can in ways that are consistent with your values. Make choices whenever you can that reflect your values. Living in ways that are inconsistent with your values causes stress and unhappiness.

16: Each day, and especially before difficult situations, remind yourself of your strengths and of the people who love you no matter what. Think of the people who love you as your team and remember they are with you, supporting you.

17: Under-react. Not under-feeling, or minimizing, denying, suppressing (Thanks to Gretchen Rubin for this one). Let events be. Sometimes we just don’t need to react.

18.  Practice ways to relax your body. Use guided imagery, deep breathing, slow exhaling, body scan, or progressive relaxation. A relaxed body sends a safety message to the mind. A tense body says there is danger.

19:  Remember your positive qualities. If you aren’t sure, ask someone who loves you. Write down what they say. Maybe ask your friends to send you an email about what they like about you. Put the responses in a jar and pull one out everyday.

20:   Focus on what you can give to others.  Helping others seems to be a universal way to improve your mood. Helping others can be as simple as smiling at someone or giving a cup of coffee. Give gently worn clothes to a shelter and give time to a child. We are all part of the same community and we all need help.

21: Take one small step and commit to success. Having a small success builds hope and belief in yourself.

22: Make a commitment to what is important to you today. Keep it, even when you have to recommit. Having purpose and meaning adds to your sense of well-being.

23:  Learn to solve problems, no matter how disappointed you are to have them. Building mastery and being able to manage your life can lift that feeling of being a burden to others.

24:  Practice willingness.  Say yes to life. Particularly say yes to being part of the universe. No matter how disconnected you may feel, you are part of the whole. You belong. Be willing to accept the changes that come with life.

25: Practice seeing the beauty of the world.  Notice the sunsets, the mountains in the fog, your cat playing with a ball, a woman whose wisdom shows on her face, children playing, music and the elderly laughing. Beauty is everywhere, yet we often don’t see it. Enjoy the beauty of hugs and petting a dog or cat.

There are many more ideas. What did I leave out that you find is helpful?

Notice to Readers:  I’ll be closing our second survey soon. Thanks to more than 1000 people who have responded.

 


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    Last reviewed: 5 Jul 2012

APA Reference
Hall, K. (2012). 25 Suggestions for Living a Contented Life, Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/emotionally-sensitive/2012/07/25-suggestions-for-living-a-contented-life-part-2/

 

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Karyn Hall, PhD is the author of the above books.
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