4 Tips for Fighting Discontentment

by | Aug 14, 2015 | Intentional Living, Parenting & Household Tips | 10 comments

“If my kids ask me for a new app for their Kindle Fires one more time, I’m going to blow a gasket!  They just got one yesterday and they don’t even appreciate it.”  -me

Then two minutes later I find myself staring longingly at a beautiful Pinterest kitchen.

A bit of a paradox, huh?  The struggle is real.

Humans have wrestled with discontentment for decades (centuries? millennia?).  But with the internet shrinking the world into the palm of your hand, it makes the struggle of fighting discontentment that much harder for all of us.

So here are four tips for helping yourself out of a discontentment rut.

sweet, simple things of life

1.  Be grateful

When I catch myself slipping into discontent, I try to remember how much I already have to be grateful for.

  • Those kids sometimes make me want to blow a gasket…but I have a beautiful family in pretty good health.
  • We have enough food to eat (even treats we don’t really need!).
  • We have plenty of goats.
  • We live in a wonderful neighborhood with great friends and family close by.

I could easily come up with a long list of things to be grateful for.  Your list is probably pretty similar.

As a bonus, list these things out together as a family.  Challenge each person to come up with one or two things to be thankful for each day.

2.  Get Unbored

Sometimes the reason we are not content is because we are just bored.  We have too much free time and we imagine that if we only had what she has our life would be so different!  Discontentment is often a craving for the rush of enjoying something new and different.

[Tweet “Discontentment is often a craving for the rush of enjoying something new and different.”]

But we don’t have to buy the latest app for our tablets or have the perfect sofa to get that rush.  Look up ways to upcycle items you already have.  Challenge yourself to learn something new via Youtube or by getting books from your local library.  Instead of zapping a frozen meal, try to figure out how your ancestors would have prepared their food.

3.  Distraction

Sometimes when I feel discontented, I try to reconnect with a hobby I used to love but no longer do much anymore (like playing my flute!).  Or I try to work on a project that will give me a sense of satisfaction.

Even cleaning and reorganizing a room that has been making you crazy for a while can give you a great sense of accomplishment.  It’s usually enough to keep my mind off of the desire for something new.

4.  Recognize Hedonic Adaptation

I first learned about this on the Mr. Money Mustache blog (fair warning, he does use strong language!).  Hedonic adaptation is the tendency for us to quickly adapt to new things and come to expect them rather than appreciate them.

Take cars, for example.  Imagine how excited the first people were to own and use a car.  Suddenly that trip that took hours before was now cut in half.

Now imagine yourself today (assuming you drive a car).  When you climb in your car, do you really appreciate the fact that you are using this fascinating machine that is going to transport you from your home to your destination in a fairly short time?  Like me, you are probably so busy wondering if you remembered everything that you don’t appreciate it at all.

You can try to appreciate things more by removing some of the comfort from your life, so that when you reintroduce it you appreciate it more.

  • Rather than driving your car, take a bike ride.
  • Turn off your air conditioning or heat for a while.  (Or adjust the temperature so it’s not perfectly comfortable.)
  • Use no electricity for a certain amount of time.

For more struggle on resisting hedonic adaptation, click here.

These tips will help you and your family find contentment in the many blessings you already enjoy.

What are your best ways for fighting discontentment?

 

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