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Contentedness doesn’t come from serving yourself, here's how
Feeling good about life when you are 60 translates into an extended healthy life expectancy, according to recent research.
Health is the greatest of gifts, contentedness the best riches; trust is the best of relatives, Nirvana the highest happiness - ANCIENT FAITHS AND MODERN | THOMAS INMAN
You may think that contentedness comes from having everything that you want, or even just having everything that you need, and that includes good health.
That's incorrect. Just as you can't buy happiness, you cannot purchase contentedness.
You can’t buy your subjective wellbeing
Perhaps you may think that with enough wealth you can buy health. That's also incorrect.
Science has found that higher contentedness is associated not only with longer life expectancy but also with a higher proportion of additional years in good health.
A study of 9761 adults, aged 50 years and older, over ten years, found that subjective enjoyment of life and contentedness was positively associated with up to 6 longer years free of disability and chronic illness.
It means that your own subjective sense of well-being is associated with healthier aging as well as greater longevity. You can't buy your "subjective sense of well being" because it is purely a reflection of your own beliefs and mindset.
Think about it.
The more you search outside yourself the more you fail
The more you search for external cruxes to serve yourself, to serve your neuroticisms, the more you feed those neuroticisms, which is why the interventions ultimately eat themselves and fail.
Contentedness is the state of being contented with your situation in life. It means having a heart that is content, and a mind which is your friend and not your enemy.
Gratitude is not a self-help tool
Contentedness is being acceptable and accepted. Not by others but by yourself.
To become more content with yourself give your gratitude away. Express gratitude to others. Not because you will benefit from it but because others might. The more appreciation you give away, the more you will have of yourself.
Don't think of gratitude as a self-help tool. It's not about comparisons. Thinking of how badly off someone else is compared to you won't help you, nor them. If you think with that mindset, you will soon stray to thinking of all those who are better off then you.
Gratitude is the most powerful emotion that you possess because it gives you the power to change your thinking and mood instantaneously — Ed Latimore.
Do not be grateful in comparison — because others are worse off. Be thankful for the opportunity it gives you to self-reflect.
For contentment, honour and acknowledge others
Gratitude is one of the most valuable ways of honouring and acknowledging someone else.
Self-reflection, and acknowledging others, helps you become more content. And the more content you are, the longer and healthier you are likely to live.
Indeed, researchers even found that expressions of gratitude lead to improved relationships for both the one expressing gratitude and the recipient. The lead researcher of a 2010 study – psychologist Sara Algoe – concluded that for romantic relationships, gratitude worked like a "booster shot". Perhaps this is the secret to long, happy marriages?
Be grateful to those who serve us
During this global pandemic, it is more important than ever to express gratitude to others in our lives. Not just loved ones or those who are fighting on the front lines, but your coffee shop staff, bus drivers, mail and parcel delivery folk, supermarket staff - the people who keep our community alive.
Expressing gratitude to others builds a greater sense of purpose in life, more forgiveness and better quality of relationships, and you may even seem to sleep better.
In short, grateful individuals seem to have more of the ingredients needed to thrive and flourish, including those required to increase the number of years you can expect to live in good health.
PS The research nominated “a healthier life” to mean living without disability. Disability was where the study participants reported difficulty performing activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, eating, getting in and out of bed, using the toilet, and walking across a room).
We know, undoubtedly, that exercise supports the ongoing performance of these daily activities. Exercise, plus higher contentedness, may be the winning combination. See How To Stay In Your Own Home For Longer.
> More posts to help you with EXERCISES
> More posts to help you with DIABETES
> If you are a @MEDIUM reader my publication Body Age Buster has hundreds of categorised posts which I have written especially for men and women over 50.
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter