Sometimes, discontentment can break us out of complacency, but when we let it linger too long it can rob us of our joy.
You’ve felt it before. The things that are happening in your life are OK, but you just feel like you still want—or need—more. Before long, the “more” that you desire becomes all you can focus on, leaving you feeling discontent and dissatisfied with your life.
Sometimes, discontentment can be a tool that breaks us out of complacency, but when we let it linger too long it can be paralyzing to our personal growth and rob us of our joy and gratitude. Taking the time to find the root of dissatisfaction and then developing simple ways to uproot it will help us live healthier lives.
Here are four simple ways to help get you out of feeling discontent with your current situation.
Find time to unplug
We are constantly looking at what other people are doing on our phones, tablets and computers. When we are stuck in an in-between place in our lives, it’s easy to let technology distract us instead of get to the root of our discontentment. We see how well other people are doing on their carefully curated social media profiles and feel disappointed with how we stack up.
Unplugging from technology one day each week can free you from the hamster wheel of comparison and allow you to actually examine your life at face value. When you’re not focused on what other people are doing you might realize that you’re not as unhappy with your life as you feel.
You don’t have to book a plane ticket across the world to shake thing up and gain some perspective. It could be as simple as going on a hike at a nearby trail or taking a day trip to drive to the mountains or the ocean. In a study looking at how nature could boost creativity, researchers found that participants performed twice as well on creative thinking tests after they spent a few days in nature. Just 20 minutes of being in fresh air has proven to reduce stress and increase concentration.
Be stretched by community
Discontentment can manifest when we are too focused on our own lives. Serving others or spending time with friends and family can break our cycle of self-centeredness. Your talents and interests can easily be integrated into volunteer work. For instance, if you love math you can tutor kids after school, or if you love baseball, you can coach a little league team. Passionate about the environment? Sign up for a beach cleanup or help pick up trash along a local hiking trail. Doing something you enjoy while supporting a cause will help give you a fresh perspective on the things you enjoy.
It can be hard to be grateful for things in our life when we feel we are stuck. But if you can think back to a time when you last felt stuck or were faced with a difficult decision—maybe it was deciding which college you were going to attend or whether to make a major career change. Although it was difficult to sort through in the moment, you were able to break through and make a decision that allowed for personal growth. Writing down the things that you have in a gratitude journal can help keep track of the blessings in your life.