Happiness vs Contentment

24 Nov 2020

What is the difference between happiness and contentment? And why is happiness the most popular and most sought-after of the two?

This week we dive deep into happiness and contentment and talk about what they are, how they differ, and how you might use this knowledge to improve how you feel about your life.

Show Notes:

“Happiness grows best in the soil of contentment.” Tim Fargo

Quite often use these words interchangeably - but they are not the same thing

What is Happiness
- Happiness, derived from the Norse word hap, means luck or chance
- Short-lived/ fleeting/ temporary state of pleasure

Western society looks at happiness as a long-term antidote for mental pain, suffering, anguish - which it is not. The aim is to have a base-level of contentment which keeps you on a relatively even keel despite the ups and downs.

What is Contentment
- Contentment is derived from the Latin contentus and usually translated as satisfied
- Longer-term state of being which is not easily affected by external changes
- The foundation from which you experience all things including happiness

How can we find/ improve levels of contentment?
- Practice mindfulness
- Work out what your “conditions” are and eliminate attachment to them. Happiness researcher DANIEL CORDARO (link below) called them “wellbeing contingencies” and a lot of them can often be out of your control
- Learn how to sit with ALL of your emotions
- Enjoy the journey - stop focusing only on the destination
- Know what is truly important to you and attempt to live in accordance with that
- Quit comparison
- Quit expectation

Further reading:
Eudaemonia: more related to the contentment that comes from a life well lived or from flourishing and growth as a human - great essay by Colin Wright. Link below.

Reference links