Thursday, September 16, 2010


Gary over at The Dollar Stretcher recently asked:  Has anyone found a way to program themselves to be happy with what they have?  Mrs. Roy definitely believes contentment is a learned behavior and Mrs. Roy has found some tricks to help me along the way.  Maybe one of these will help you, too.

An attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to be happy with what you have is to be intentionally grateful. Make a list every morning of ten things you are grateful for, even if you don’t feel very grateful. You may have a flat tire, but at least you have a car. You may not have a steak for dinner, but be thankful you have a can of soup. This exercise becomes easier as you go along so stick with it.

Take an inventory. When Mrs. Roy was going through a rough patch, I would take a mental inventory every time the panic started to swell up - kids are okay, husband is okay, house payment is made, electricity is still on, gas in the car, food to eat today.  Mrs. Roy was boiling our life down to the least common denominator but knowing the basics were taken care of made the “uncontrollables” in Mrs. Roy's life less daunting.

Look outside yourself. Most of us are so blessed. How can Mrs. Roy fuss about not having the latest greatest cell phone when other folks don’t have food?

Stop watching television and reading magazines. Advertisers spend millions making their products tempting. Manufacturers are constantly creating newer, better versions of their products specifically so we will become discontented with the perfectly fine product we already bought. Just don’t subject yourself to the ads and you will be much more content.

Set a goal. If Mrs. Roy is saving toward a specific goal, I am less likely to spend money on things Mrs. Roy doesn't really need.  In other words, Mrs. Roy is more content with what I have and less likely to feel deprived if Mrs. Roy is focusing on the goal.