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How to Be Content With Life

It’s hard to be content with life. This article gives nine tips for cultivating contentment in a happiness-focused culture.

Personal Growth
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It seems almost impossible to be content with life. There’s always something better to gain, and someone always seems better than you—richer, smarter, or a better friend. Maybe you’ve compared your life to the life you thought you’d have and see a huge gap between the two.

It’s easy to look at your circumstances and feel dissatisfied, especially in a culture that emphasizes pursuing happiness above everything else. Perhaps you’ve tried to find a lasting sense of happiness, but nothing is giving you the fulfillment you crave. 

How to be content with life

The beauty of practicing contentment is that we can feel fulfilled regardless of what our culture tells us we should want, what others have, all the ways our life falls short of our goals, or even how happy we are. How do we find contentment with life even when it isn’t perfect?

1. Understand what Contentment Means

Though our culture tells us otherwise, happiness and contentment are very different. Contentment is being satisfied with your life regardless of your circumstances. 

Happiness, on the other hand, is a temporary pleasure we obtain by experiencing something we like, such as getting a promotion or eating our favorite dessert. Contentment is much more sustainable than happiness, and researchers have proved that it’s an essential part of a high-quality life. 

The Bible talks about contentment often. Ecclesiastes 6:9 and Hebrews 13:5 tell us to be satisfied with what we have because pursuing temporary desires is “like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 6:9). Paul, an early church leader,  wrote about how he found contentment: 

 ...I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

What Paul realized is that Jesus is the ultimate source of contentment—he gives us everything we need (John 4:13–15, Psalm 23:1, 1 Timothy 6:6–8).

2. Practice Gratitude

Choosing to focus on the positive aspects of life puts us on the fast track towards contentment. 

Keeping a gratitude journal or telling someone—or God—what you’re thankful for each day helps you see the ways God has already blessed you. The things you put on your gratitude list can be as simple as a pretty sunset or as life-altering as getting married. 

Take time to notice the little things throughout your day that bring you joy: sunshine, the taste of your favorite coffee order, your pet’s excitement when you come home. These ordinary aspects of life make it extraordinarily significant and meaningful. 

3. Simplify Your Life

Decluttering can reduce our need to pursue temporary happiness. We often have too much physical and mental baggage to enjoy our lives as they are. 

A study on the relationship between minimalism and well-being found that reducing material possessions can increase your personal fulfillment, which then increases your sense of well-being. Donating or throwing out items such as rarely-worn clothing or unused technology can curb your appetite for more and better things and help you focus on the essential things, people, and activities you love. 

Decluttering yourself mentally is equally important. Practices such as making a plan to accomplish tasks, scheduling rest, reducing time on social media, journaling, and praying can reduce mental stress. 

4. Focus on What You can Control

Too often we focus on what we can’t control in our lives, especially whether or not difficult things happen to us and others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. Worrying about these things distracts us from cultivating contentment. 

The only thing we can control is how we respond to the world around us—how we choose to think about and act towards ourselves, others, and the world. 1 Peter 5:7 says to give our worries—the things we can’t control—to God because he loves us. We are precious to God, and he will provide everything we need (Matthew 6:25–26). 

5. Cultivate Mindfulness and Presence

Mindfulness, or being fully present and accepting the moment we’re in, increases well-being. Practices like meditation, prayer, and deep breathing can cultivate inner peace. 

Focusing on the present allows you to see all the good things God gives you each day, which can increase your gratitude for your life. Making time to pray and read the Bible each day can also help you stay present with God (Psalm 46:10). 

6. Build and Maintain Strong Relationships

People are created for relationship. God designed us to be in life-giving relationships with him and others, and having healthy relationships improves mental health. 

Some ways you can make your relationships healthier are practicing open and clear communication, cultivating trust, and establishing appropriate boundaries. Connecting with others on a deeper level helps you feel more satisfied with your life—you need social interaction to survive and thrive.

If you’re interested in finding people to start building strong relationships with, check out some of the Groups we offer at LCBC—we have Groups for anyone from runners to young parents! 

7. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Most of us have set an unreasonable goal before. Maybe you thought you could clean your entire house in the hour before your parents visit or aimed to have a six-figure salary immediately after graduation.

These goals and dreams are difficult—or impossible—to achieve, and they can leave us feeling disappointed when life inevitably fails to be what we want it to be. Setting and accomplishing reasonable goals and expectations will help you feel more fulfilled because you will achieve more of what you aim for. 

8. Find Meaning and Purpose

God created everyone on and for a purpose. As Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You can live out your purpose by loving God, loving others, and using your gifts.

Activities that use your gifts, such as creating art, fixing cars, encouraging your loved ones, baking cookies for your neighbors, or other acts of service are deeply meaningful and can make you feel more fulfilled. 

If you’re looking for ways to serve, check out our serving opportunities at LCBC.

9. Engage in Activities that Bring Joy

Doing things we love increases our contentment. Do you love to draw? Go to the gym? Read good books? Hang out with friends? Finding a work/life balance that allows you time to rest and do things you love is incredibly important for your overall well-being. 

Contentment is within your reach 

There are so many ways to increase contentment! We encourage you to choose one of the practices in this article and try it out. Know that change won’t happen overnight—as you keep trying and keep praying, God will change your perspective. He loves you and wants you to live a joy-saturated, contentment-filled life, and it is only he who can give you what you need to be content.


Sometimes the key to contentment is self-control - here are 3 keys to increasing it!


LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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