#BeWell: The Contentment Habit

#BeWell is a weekly roundup of inspiring, thought-provoking, and fun articles to help/inspire/motivate you to cultivate the well in your life.

If this week taught me anything, it’s that life works in very strange ways. And that it can, and often does, change in a flash, for better and for worse. In my case, for the better, but that certainly is not always the case. So, we need to enjoy the now and Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits calls this the contentment habit (versus the discontentment habit), which social media doesn’t seem to help. Here is step one to cultivating a contentment habit:

Stop looking elsewhere for happiness — in what others are doing, in what you should be doing, in what others should be doing but aren’t, in the things you should improve. Happiness and contentment aren’t out there.

Leo is surely referring to happiness that starts inside of you, but having a happy and healthy home gives you a foundation to do the contentment work that you need to do (and yes, it is work–the best kind). One of my big projects this past year has been to set up a home that my husband and I, well, feel at home in. It’s a small and simple home, just 400 square feet, but it feels like us. It’s a little haven from the big crazy world outside. My next step is making sure that it’s healthy for us, too. 

I truly hope that you never feel like saying, “I f*king hate my job,” which Maneesh Goyal heard way too may times. It inspired him to create Live in the Grey, an organization that helps people blend their passions and professions. Life is too magical and long to resign yourself to spending your days doing something you hate. Don’t know what to do? Start by asking yourself, “What doesn’t feel like work?”

Me and books have been friends for a very long time. I’m always reading one (or two), and if a day goes by where I haven’t taken some time to sit down and read, I feel that I’ve missed something. And I have. So, I love the idea of DailyLit, a digital service that will deliver you 15 minutes of reading from a book you select every day at a specified time. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes somewhere in there day?

Here are two new phrases for your vocabulary: “nature deficit disorder” and “attention fatigue” and both go hand in hand.

Most human-mediated activities—school and work, social media, and even many leisure activities—require “direct attention.” These pursuits require effort; even during play, we’re doing things that require a lot of focus. The eventual result is attention fatigue, which decreases our ability to concentrate on one task.

The solution? Go get lost in nature, a proven way to decrease stress and put us in a better mood. (And dare I say, be more creative?)

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