We’re already a few weeks into 2021, and you may have already determined your resolution or intention for the year. If you’re still open to suggestions, we recommend making “contentment” your power word, or intention, for the year.
In order to be at your best, it’s important to nourish your mind and body. This will help you find balance, rejuvenation, and contentment. Practicing contentment this year will require dedication and commitment, but your mind and spirit will feel free because of it. Keep reading to discover just how you can experience contentment in 2021.
A philosophy in yoga that is commonly practiced is santosha, which roughly translates to contentment. It means appreciating who we are and what we have in the moment then continually growing from there. It teaches yogis to recognize that happiness is not gained from pursuing outside forces (whether relationships or material things). Instead, contentment comes from within. Love yourself where you are, and if there’s something you wish to change, know it’s up to you to make that change.
A great way to practice santosha is to let go of what you can’t control. You’ll experience contentment when you focus inwards and recognize when something is out of your hands. This year, practice santosha on and off the mat to give yourself a sense of much-needed peace.
How to Feel Content in the Moment
If you’d like to practice contentment in 2021, here are just a few ways you can find little moments of bliss throughout the year:
Contentment and yoga go hand-in-hand. Yoga nourishes your body and helps you feel balanced, leading to contentment. Practice yoga anywhere from three times a week to every day to connect with your mind, body, and spirit. This connection will help you look inwards rather than externally for satisfaction.
As you spend time on the mat, remember that yoga is a process. It takes time to gain strength and flexibility. Allow yourself this time to grow at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to other yogis. You have your whole life to practice and reach any level of expertise you desire. You are perfect exactly how you are, so be kind to yourself and you’ll find contentment in who are in the present moment.
If you’d like to start your journey towards contentment, sign up for virtual yoga classes by clicking here. You can select classes that match your schedule, and you’ll have the flexibility to learn at your own pace.
When you’re feeling stressed and mentally going through your to-do list for the next day, year, or five years, pause for a few minutes and breathe meditatively. This deep, controlled breathing calms your nervous system, tells your mind that you are well, and grounds you in the present moment.
To practice meditative breathing, breathe in on the count of five, feeling your stomach expand. Now, pause for a second. Then, breathe out to the count of five. Repeat as many times as it takes to feel your body begin to relax and your mind begin to calm. You can even repeat this mantra as you breathe, “I am here, breathing out. I am content.”
Another way to practice contentment this year is by journaling. Writing about and re-experiencing the good and the bad in your day will help you gain a different perspective. Happiness and contentment are not achieved by avoiding pain. While it’s important to highlight the good (to remind yourself that there are bright spots in life), it’s also helpful to recognize the things that didn’t go your way so you can grow from those experiences, rather than bottling them up for them to explode later on. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations, such as “I didn’t behave my best in that moment, but next time I’ll be more prepared.”
A great way to increase contentment in your life is by serving others. Doing something nice for someone in your life can help you feel good and nourished. Cook a meal for a friend who’s had a rough week. Sign up to be a volunteer at a local shelter. Shop for and deliver groceries to your elderly neighbor. Take the focus off of yourself and cater to someone else’s needs. Your cup of contentment will fill up.
Just as we mentioned the benefits of journaling about all the good things in your life, it’s also healthy to express gratitude for the pleasures in life. Maybe you’re grateful for your significant other’s support. Maybe you appreciate the cookies your friend baked over the holidays. Perhaps, you simply love the presence of your dog or cat. Whatever you’re thankful for, express that gratitude. You’ll immediately feel content.
Practice Happiness Daily
Just as you need to consciously eat healthy, hydrate properly, and exercise regularly, you’ll need to practice contentment purposefully. Each day, you’ll need to wake up with the intention to be content. With these five ways to practice contentment, you’ll be able to make “contentment” your intention for the year. It’s okay to not feel happy every single day (because life is hard and it’s not possible to be happy all the time), but don’t give up. Keep trying. Your 2021 will be brighter for your efforts.