“Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.” – Unknown.
Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Is the way your life going really how you would like it to go? One of the things I have observed over and over again is that we all have different appetites and we all respond differently to the same stimuli. If two people, for example, get N1m each, one is likely to be happier than the other, one may be satisfied, and the other may be far from satisfied. A few factors affect our feeling of satisfaction, and all of them can be changed.
Satisfaction is a complex psychological experience that involves many factors, including biology, cognition, and behavior. Here is a brief overview of the science behind satisfaction and what you can change:
1. Neurotransmitters: Dopamine and serotonin are two neurotransmitters that play a role in satisfaction. Dopamine is associated with pleasure and reward, while serotonin is associated with mood and well-being. Both are released when we experience something pleasurable, such as eating a delicious meal or accomplishing a goal. You can use your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits to change your dopamine levels. This invariably means that if you are eating right, exercising right, listening to good music, and meditating on positive things, you are likely to be happier.
2. Expectations: Our expectations and beliefs about a particular experience can influence our satisfaction with it. If we expect something to be enjoyable or rewarding, we are more likely to experience satisfaction when it meets those expectations. You can train your mind to grow gradually and iterate your expectations by your beliefs. Having a goal orientation and breaking the things you want to achieve into smaller parts has an impact on your expectations and it helps. The expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off.
3. Comparison: We often compare our experiences to our past experiences or to the experiences of others. If we perceive that our current experience is better than our past experiences or better than what others have experienced, we are more likely to feel satisfied. Comparison is the past time of fools, when we spend too much time looking at others we tend not to realize we need to be grateful for our lots. We need to learn to live in the moment and be grateful as we journey toward the future.
4. Personal values: Our personal values and beliefs can also influence our satisfaction. If we value certain things, such as health or relationships, we are more likely to feel satisfied when those things are present in our lives. Let your personal values be shaped by your faith. The most important things in life are not material, and there is not a situation so difficult that God can’t change. By building our beliefs on timeless, eternal, and true-north principles, we are happy by just realizing the object of whose love we are.
5. Memory: Our memories of past experiences can also influence our satisfaction with current experiences. If we have positive memories of a particular experience, we are more likely to feel satisfied when we experience something similar in the future. This is one of the reasons to keep a gratitude journal. Actively reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness and goodness in the past has a way of creating a spiral of satisfaction in our future. Look back at answered prayers and so much that you are grateful for, and let it inspire you to be satisfied.
Once you are clear about what makes you happy and satisfied, you can be deliberate about filling your life with the experiences that are likely to keep you satisfied.