Being Satisfied is Good Medicine

recovery May 27, 2013

I think one of the most radical things we can do to improve our mental health is to tell ourselves that we are satisfied. We live in a culture saturated with carefully crafted advertisements that have one aim - to tell us we are unhappy, have unmet needs and how much happier we will be if we just:

  • Buy eyelash extenders
  • Drive a luxury car
  • Take a cruise
  • Buy an ab-cruncher workout machine, etc., etc., etc

It's so easy to get caught up in rampant consumerism fueled by the hope that the next purchase will finally fulfill us and make us happy.  Of course, what we buy never quenches the manufactured need for more.  In fact, the more we believe we need and "must have", the more unhappy we become.  

I remember we lost power for a few days during a big winter storm.  The lights were out, the TV was off, the internet was down and the power in our cell phones were quickly drained.  So we lit candles.  We gathered around the wood stove. We broke out a deck of cards and some board games. A peace that comes with being deeply fulfilled settled upon my family. I felt deeply satisfied and wanted for nothing.  

It occurred to me how radical this was. When I shed the stress of manufactured "need", then I was grateful for all the small things that bring me joy. I didn't want to buy anything.  I was happy with things just the way they were. My mood, attitude, and overall mental health had transformed. Then the power came back and the lights went on. I think I shed a tear.  

Being satisfied is powerful medicine.