Mike Hedrick is a writer based in Boulder, Colorado

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Instead of trying to look for happiness, you should aim for the more manageable goal of contentment. I think this is something we would all do well to wrap our heads around because constant happiness, as it stands, is fleeting. It’s a momentary thing that lasts for a day, at most, before we are reminded of our problems and concerns.

Contentment, on the other hand, is the feeling of being okay with the way things stand. It’s being comfortable with life—not ecstatic happiness but also not sadness.

The next question then, is how do we find this contentment and how do we maintain it?

This can be a bit difficult for a lot of people facing the stress of family life, money, it isn’t always easy to be okay, but there are several ways of going about it.

The first thing someone should do to seek contentment is to take stock of their situation and list all the positives in their life. Being thankful for the things you have can put you in the better frame of mind of knowing that things aren’t nearly as bad as you sometimes make them out to be. It can give you the realization that, although things could be better, they are manageable for the time being.

The easiest way to express gratitude is to sit down and write out the things you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s your friends, who are seemingly always there for you. Maybe it’s your family and the unconditional support they give. It could be your job or the opportunities you’ve been given in your life that, deep down, you know have made things easier for you. Even just simple things like a roof over your head, and running water. Being grateful for these things can give you a perspective we lose all too frequently and can show you that no matter what you’re struggling with, at least you have these things to keep you comfortable.

Most of the time, being cognizant of the things that make life pleasant will do you some good.

That said, there may still be some itch inside you for things to be better, for you to be more content, and that’s ok. It’s perfectly normal. The thing to do in that case is to make a plan for the things you want.

Having a plan in place can ease your concern significantly, and if you keep your head down and do the work to reach the goal, to get to the point where you want to be, I can promise you that with time you’ll get there

You may get impatient, but the first exercise of expressing gratitude easily takes the sting out of that and allows you to sit still and be as patient as you need to be for things to happen.

I’ve struggled with not feeling content for a long time and these are things that have helped me the most.

Contentment is something we could all use. Keeping these things in mind will help to ease the pulling you feel in your chest for things to be better.

Feel free to go about it in any way you choose but expressing gratitude and doing the work to get to where you want to be are easily the best ways of finding that contentment that you’re looking for.

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