Is Contentment Possible?

Is Contentment Possible? - HSP Health Blog
source: Dave Morris – Flickr

Do ever get asked a question that hits you like a ton of bricks?

Years ago a good friend of mine asked me something that I’ll never forget.

At the time I was pretty much all over the place. Feeling emotions very intensely, even taking on other people’s stuff. It was a huge energy suck. At the time I had no idea of my HSP trait. I just thought I was a little crazy.

So when I was asked this question it caught me off guard. Like somebody had “found me out.”

“Are you ever just content?”

Of Course I Feel Contentment!

My first thought when I heard this was to scream out and defend myself: “Yes! Of course I am!” But I knew it wasn’t true.

So I stood there, kind of stunned.

You see, I was truly all over the map with my emotions. I was in college, stressed to the core, and had zero ways to deal with it.

What was so eye opening about hearing this question was that it brought me face to face with just how stressed I was.

I was either really happy, or down in the dumps. There wasn’t much of a healthy middle ground.

Even though I was feeling exposed in that moment, I was grateful that someone had the guts to check in with me at that level.

Where Is Your Contentment?

Now I want to check in with you. Do you ever just feel contentment?

Are you able to be with what is in your life, while still dreaming up whatever is next for you?

Being stressed can make us feel stuck because we are either reaching for the past or the future. Living on an emotional rollercoaster can keep us playing the “up and down” game – happy when things are up and sad when things are down.

But where does that leave you in all of this?

Where is the constant in your life, the underlying sense of “I’m OK”?

And how do you live in that place more often?

Something I love to do to help re-set and actually look at what is going on in my life is to schedule quiet time every day – even if it’s just five 5 or 10 minutes.

Close the door, turn off the computer, silence the phone. Take these few precious minutes to do what feels good to you and recharge your battery. Cultivate the awareness of how you feel when you are about to get into a “burn out” state, and give yourself a break before you begin to get to that state.

If you find yourself easily swayed by whatever’s going on in your life, this is a must. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

What else brings you back to center, to your healthy middle ground? Let me know in the comments. Can’t wait to hear.


  1. says

    “Do ever get asked a question that hits you like a ton of bricks?”
    You couldn’t have said that better.
    The subject of this post hit me like a ton of bricks.
    I never feel like I am content. Even when things are going well, I’m thinking about “what will happen next” or “what will go wrong”. I wish I wasn’t like this… but I don’t know how to be any different. It’s just how I am.

    • CRAIG says

      I understand your problems Kelly. I find it helpful to think of who i am as a fluid concept, not something you find and claim, more an understanding of the ever evolving oneself. I also think of contentment as an emotional state (like happy, sad or confussed) and not a characteristic of some kind. Therefore it is not something you are but more something you experience, the key is is to be conscious of it in the moment it happens, acknowledge it and remember what led to that moment.

  2. says

    Thanks so much for your insights, Kelly.

    Feeling content can be scary for us HSPs because it can mean that we are letting go of our grip on the past or future (or to-do list or urge to control and perfect, you get the picture) for a moment or two.

    It may sound contradictory but I find that it takes effort and practice to be able to experience feeling content and OK. Because we as HSPs can have such ping pong emotions, the practicing is especially important, and to do so without judgement toward ourselves is key.

    What we do to “practice” (which is really the practice of getting to know and love ourselves no matter what’s going on in our lives) looks different for everyone. Meditation, journaling, affirmations, and yoga or all avenues I find to be helpful in finding the “OK” in this moment, instead of forever waiting for some far off moment in the future to be content.


  3. says

    In my life also, the question of contentment figured(s) significantly. Contentment is considered a divine state in the old wisdoms and esoteric teachings of numerous cultures. My personal experiences led me by varying degrees of timing and personal events to come to recognize that all folk have unique versions of contentment, but for me contentment meant and still means a private sense of inner peace. When I forgot myself, I tended to find myself taking on others’ versions of contentment, which simply could not come close to fulfilling my personal vision. Over most of my adult life, I have cultivated an evolving path of remaining true to my purpose that I have developed privately. As long as I return continuously to my inner direction, I am content. So, contentment is a spiritual path and measuring tool in my experience. I love that you have chosen this topic, Kathyrn, to share. Our society does not generally encourage honouring the sacred inner, mostly because rewards are outer for outer accomplishments. Wouldn’t it be great to create a way to acknowledge others for such a sublime accomplishment? So many blessings!

    • says

      Janet, thank you for sharing your experience. Your words are beautiful.

      I love that you have cultivated this inner knowing and private sacred space in your life. Honoring our sacred inner space and personal direction in life in the face of a society who cherishes the outer is a challenge, you’re right. Even exploring our content selves on a regular basis, and what that may mean and look like for us, is something brave. By you sharing your experience with us you have invited others to dive in as well and get to know what is true for them. Thank you for that.


  4. Annys says

    Thank you for this, Kathryn. I decided a couple of days ago that when my computer’s taking a while to do something (this is not an unusual event for most people, I understand) I spend that time being with my breath. And that feels very good.

    I was just thinking this morning, that at least once a day, when I look at myself in the mirror, I say ‘we’re doing all right, aren’t we?’ I used to just not want to meet my eyes at all. So I would say I’m getting closer to contentment. It’s just realising that there are times that are difficult, but which are also transitory…

    • says

      Oh I can so relate to what you are saying. I too practice being present with my breath during computer waiting, and traffic light waiting, etc. Meeting our own eyes in the mirror can feel vulnerable and scary. So glad you are doing it, even if it may feel risky (I know it has for me). Love what you shared. Thank you.

      All best,

  5. says

    I am getting there. It is not easy. Life has been continuously busy for four months now. I have successly hit “re-set” twice this week by doing quiet mundane tasks that don’t require much thought. Washing dishes by hand was the most useful.

  6. Maik says

    Actually I try to meditate at least once a day half an hour, if possible twice. Beyond that I meditate 3-4 times a weak 1 1/2 hours in a Dojo (Soto Zen practice).
    I catch at every straw and try so many things, even most of the things mentioned in David Servan-Schreiber’s book “Healing Without Freud or Prozac: Natural Approaches to Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression”.
    But there are times like just now I feel like I can’t stand it anymore and draw on alcohol and cigarettes in order to numb my feelings when I’m down.
    I am aware of my actions when I decide to go and buy the stuff, but I just have the feeling that I need instant release sometimes so that I have neither time nor will to try a more productive way getting out of this slump.

    • says

      Hi Maik,

      I am sorry that you are struggling. It sounds to me that you are trying everything in your power to feel better and it is not working. I do Transcendental Meditation twice a day and have been doing so for 20 years. It help me to release. I also like New Age music which has a wonderful feeling of space and helps me find space as well. My best suggestion is that the more I let go the more content I am. You cannot control the world, and life is mostly challenging, so I simply try to take care of my contribution and let it go at that. The more you get rid of any mental and emotional burdens the better.

      I hope this helps,

  7. Elisabeth says

    enjoying the simple things in life; not comparing yourself to others; hugging my cat; having a relaxing bath; reading a good book; not feeling the need to live up to other people’s expectations; appreciating what you have. These things bring me contentment.

  8. Danielle says

    I learned about detachment from turmoil by asking myself “what is true for me now?” And i sometimes admit how i feel to myself, sometimes its not clear. But the mere fact of tending to recognizing what is true for me is enough to calm the waters and just be in the flow of contentment again.
    Thank you to all who shared on your great topic Kathryn. Much precious wisdom! Namasté

  9. says

    Hi there! Great article you have, I would also want to share my thoughts that Meditation indeed has positive effects not only in the body but also in the mind, a total holistic wellness that brings us to know our inner-self better. It gives us a peace of mind that helps us have a much better perception about our lives.
    Our advocacy is to promote the positive effects of meditation, yoga and inner wellness.
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    Thank you and have a great day!

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