As part of my continuing studies this year on increasing peacefulness in life, I’m also looking at increasing satisfaction in and with one’s life, as well. In that spirit, this week I’m exploring how you can deepen your satisfaction levels. For me, this has been an ongoing process. Up until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t very satisfied with my life. Sure, there were parts I was happy with but, there were also lots of other things that were far from ideal. I’m using my own story below to illustrate three ways that you can deepen your satisfaction in your own life.
1 – Live mindfully.
Last week’s post delved into mindfulness and how you can start using it in your life. Mindfulness is the primary tool I’ve used to increase my satisfaction levels in my own life. By practicing mindfulness and living in a state of present awareness, I learned to pay better attention to what surrounded me. I figured out that I’m a quiet and sensitive introvert who also likes to cut loose only every once in a while. I realized that the more quiet time I spent at home, the better I felt when facing external forces in my work and social life.
Approaching your life from a vantage point of awareness (plus a little curiosity) goes a long way to deepening satisfaction. If you’re paying attention and approaching things with an inquisitive nature, you can figure out what you do and don’t like about your life. It’ll set you up to identify the things you want to change, or even better, the things you want to keep and maybe even increase doing. For example, I realized that reading helped me not only to feel a deeper sense of peace in my life, but it also helped to stimulate my brain and pique my curiosity in interesting subjects. As a result, I’m reading more now and watching TV less.
Key takeaway: Mindfully and willfully creating the life you want is the first and biggest step toward deepening satisfaction.
2 – Think before you act.
While most of us love the idea of being spontaneous, it’s actually better for us in the long run to think before we act. I’ve learned this one the hard way. Great example: I used to be one to comment quickly and off the cuff when I saw something online I didn’t agree with. However, I found that acting in that manner was increasing my stress and anxiety levels as I waited for responses. It was even worse when I received responses that fueled the negativity. But in time and because I started paying attention, I realized that when I stopped and thought through things instead of just acting in the moment, I was able to use a clear picture of my hopes, dreams, and desires to guide my responses.
Thinking before you act can increase satisfaction levels because it helps to decrease the number of decisions made in the heat of the moment or without thinking through the possible outcomes. When someone says something to you that you dislike or disagree with, take a moment before you answer. Think through the implications and ramifications of your answer. Is it really worth it to tell that person off? Probably not. Keep your larger goals in mind and make sure that your actions and words are in alignment with them. Your satisfaction levels are nearly guaranteed to increase!
Key Takeaway: Thinking before you act allows you to remember what your bigger goals are and helps to you act in accordance with those goals, thus increasing satisfaction levels.
3 – Practice gratitude.
Finally, and most importantly: gratitude. While paying more attention and thinking through my responses was hugely helpful in increasing my satisfaction, it wasn’t until I layered on a gratitude practice that I realized how much satisfaction could already be derived from my life. I just wasn’t looking closely enough! Being deliberate in recognizing the blessings, good things, and happy accidents that take place around me daily was a game-changer. Each morning, I express gratitude on paper for three things. I write them down, and I’m consistent in making sure that I always list something. This helps me to think about and see the good things around me.
What about you? Are you practicing gratitude yet? If not, it’s time you started. Recognizing the small blessings in your life can start making a huge difference. The best part is being able to look back at those lists, especially when you’re feeling down or sad. It’s great to be reminded of the blessings that abound daily. It also helps provide perspective, which is huge in being able to deepen your own satisfaction levels.
Key Takeaway: Practicing gratitude in your life will allow you to see the blessings and good things that already exist. You very likely have a stronger foundation for satisfaction that you realize!
Coming Full Circle
Deepening your satisfaction in your life is a process that takes time, but it’s one that’s well-worth the effort. When you get the hang of living mindfully, thinking before you act, and actively practicing gratitude, you’ll have paved the way for deepening satisfaction. You’ll probably find a few (or many) things that you want to change. You’ll likely also find hidden gems in your life that you didn’t realize were there. Finally, when living in this way, it’ll become much more possible and likely that you’ll increase your levels of inner peace, which is a central point to life, anyhow.