What can I do to feel more content? [Courtesy, Freepik]

Hi Chris,

My friends think I have made it in life. A good job, a good man, a full social life. But it doesn’t feel like that to me. I’m often awake at night, worrying about my relationship, work or money. What can I do to feel more content?


Hi Discontented!

We all feel pretty much like you do. Mostly because of some ideas about how life should be, that make us feel unsure of ourselves.

Like you can’t change the way you are. But that implies that when things go wrong you have to wait for someone else to put things right, rather than fix things yourself. So a better idea is to think about how changing your behaviour might make things better. That puts you more in control of the situation, and feeling in control is the first step along the road to contentment.


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We also feel that life should make sense. But life isn’t a novel, where everything’s neat and tidy by the end. Real life is messy and often makes no sense at all. And so we feel ill at ease.

So accept that life’s messy! And put a sense of order into your life by completing some small task or other every single day, especially things you tend to put off. The feeling that you’re getting things done is another step along the road to contentment.

Modern marketing also tries to convince us that we have to look perfect and hold back the years. But looking after yourself is one thing. Everything after that’s all a waste of time. Accept that you’ll grow older and enjoy each day as it comes.

And worst of all? The idea that you’ll be happy once you’ve got your promotion, raise, new car, whatever. We strive for them and feel bad until they happen. But they never bring lasting satisfaction. Soon everything’s just as before. What brings happiness are the steps along the way to achievement. So put your energy into activities that are important, challenging and enjoyable. Whether at work or in your relationships. That is where true contentment lies.

All the best,