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Amira McLaughlin

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The goal of this challenge is to help you move from complaining to contentment. We’ve already discussed several aspects of this, including reasons for complaining, how to cut down on our complaints and ways to complain more constructively. I fully believe that taming your negativity can go far toward enhancing your satisfaction. Another way to do this is to pay attention during times when you do feel thankful and satisfied. As I’ve shared in past posts, our brains are wired to take note of the negative. Learning to notice the good feelings will require proactive measures and determination. When you notice how nice being content feels, you begin to encourage the growth of neural pathways that encourage this type of thinking. Let me show you how it works. 

Attitude Makes a Difference

It may seem corny, but attitude really is everything. The way you choose to look at a situation truly does influence how you feel. Think back on times throughout your life. There have probably been periods in which you were relatively satisfied, despite encountering obstacles or having bad things happen to you. Other times, you may have felt despair and unhappiness in similar circumstances. The difference lies in the way you chose to look at the big picture, as well as your individual circumstances. When you dwell on the negative, these feelings of helplessness and frustration begin to snowball. Taking time to focus on gratitude and small pleasures can help you break through the negativity to start feeling overall more content. 

Focus on the Feeling

Therefore, it makes sense to conclude that making a proactive effort to try to focus on the positive things and the emotions that result from this effort will help you to feel better. Reach out and grab any small victories you can. When you notice something positive in your life, take time to reflect on it. Pay attention to the feelings that come with it and allow those feelings to linger. Try to return to these memories when you start to feel frustration or discontent. This process will become more automatic with practice. 

Turn Thoughts into Action

Our thoughts really do dictate our feelings. When we think negatively or complain about things, we’re bound to feel terrible. You’ll never reach a state of contentment if you continue to allow this cycle to perpetuate. It takes solid effort and action to break such patterns. Doing so will become easier when you take the momentum you’ve gained through mindfulness to transfer your good thoughts into action. Once you begin to get the hang of changing your attitude and focusing on the positive feelings that come from that change, you can then start to use those emotions to propel real change in your life. For example, instead of complaining about your stressful job, you can focus on feeling gratitude that you’re gainfully employed and all the benefits you receive from this blessing. Then you can immerse yourself in these feelings, revisiting them when you get down about your situation. In turn, you can begin to take intentional action toward enjoying your downtime more by doing fun things with your family. In addition, you can also put your energy into finding ways to improve your work life or to look for more satisfying employment. 

By making the intentional effort to notice how nice being content feels, you’ll start to form new thinking and take action toward improving your life. You can form new patterns simply by changing your thinking and being mindful of the good things.

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