How to feel more satisfied with your life
Are you feeling great; fulfilling your wishes, expectations and needs? Are you whistling your way into work or dancing round the house Hugh Grant style in Love Actually? The OECD Life Index (2022) found that in the UK, the average score for life satisfaction is 6.8 (out of 10). Not bad, but what’s getting in the way of us getting an even higher score?
We can sometimes feel a void between where we are and where we want to be, believe the story we tell ourselves, compare ourselves to others, pursue something more or think ‘I will be happy when’. However, some of the most successful achievers in the business and sporting worlds often speak of experiencing a lull after big achievements and quickly start to chase the next big thing.
Of those, the ones who have experienced a realization that success isn’t the finish line are the ones who have been able to tap into a more present and sustained feeling of satisfaction with life. Here’s some ways in which we can do the same:
Firstly, it’s important to take a close look at our purpose and goals. Your purpose is your reason for being, what really matters to you and the contribution you want to make to the world. When we set goals, they often tend to be extrinsic, that is focused on obtaining rewards and the positive regard of others. For example, financial success, attractiveness, popularity. However, if your goals are intrinsic; that is personally meaningful to you, related to your purpose and what YOU want, are passionate about and value; they are more satisfying to pursue. This is because they are more likely to fulfill our inner psychological needs.
Secondly, practicing gratitude can help us appreciate the value of the simple things, find the joy in the ordinary and bring meaning to our lives. There are many ways we can do this; journalling, discussing over dinner or before bed what we are grateful for or saying one or two things we are grateful for to ourselves each day. It takes practice, but the benefits to us on an emotional, physical and mental level are huge.
Lastly, being self-compassionate is important. We often compare ourselves to others, which can affect our self-worth. When we feel content, self-accepting and that we are enough, we are more likely to feel satisfied. Self-acceptance involves being kind to yourself, understanding, speaking to yourself as you would a friend, not getting hooked into your inner critic, challenging the story you tell yourself and remembering that everyone is only human and flawed.
So, have a think; are you aligned to your purpose? Are your goals intrinsic? What are you grateful for? How can you be kinder towards yourself? Can you challenge your inner-critic and the story you tell yourself? Some tweaks in these areas of your life day to day could make a positive difference.