Santosha (contentment)

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Most of us believe that contentment will come once we achieve something. It could be financial success, finding a companion, having a child, retirement, owning certain material items, reaching a goal, being a certain weight, having a certain status,  recognition, etc.

Santosha means practicing contentment in all things. It is the active practice of accepting the way things are. Peace cannot rely on ever changing external circumstances, often beyond our control.  Santosha encourages us to be satisfied with whatever each day brings, welcoming what we get.

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu


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Here are some ways to help practice contentment in all things:

  1. Release fears and accept what life offers you at this moment with gratefulness. This does not necessarily mean that you don’t want to see change. It simply means understanding the full reality of your situation, learning from it and then taking appropriate actions.
  2. Let go of your war with reality. The saying, “It is what it is.” stops our striving for things to be different.
  3. When you feel down, act as if you are happy. Walk taller, with a spring in your step. Practice smiling. Many times if we act as if we are happy, the emotions will follow.
  4.  Move through life more slowly, savor each day, and enjoy the journey. Take notice and enjoy the simple things in life.
  5. Live with gratitude for all that you have and experience. Even our negative experiences are worthy of thanks. It is those times that teach us the most and mild us into who we are. Say ‘thank you”.
  6. Focus on what you already have rather than what you want. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  7. Exercise regularly. Short-term benefits include the release of endorphins, which elevate the mood. Long term, we feel more healthy and flexible. Don’t worry about the past, it is gone and cannot be changed. Don’t worry about the future, allow it to unfold and expect great things. Do not waste today. Create contentment by doing a good thing or maybe even a great thing.
  8. Feed your mind daily with thoughts of happiness, success, peace, wisdom, goodness, and inspiration.
  9. Observe quiet time daily, allow time to sit and contemplate. Meditation and deep breathing can help to bring contentment and peace by quieting the mind.
Most of us have heard of the serenity prayer which is at the essence of santosha: “God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”