What is contentment?

The dictionary informs us that it is the experience of being satisfied, of not desiring more than you have. This is a starting point, but it leaves out important elements of contentment, including the most essential aspects from a psychological perspective. What does it feel like to be contented? What are the conditions that produce contentment?

Recall again a satisfying time when everything seemed right: there was no need to alter what you were doing, who you were with, or where you were. During such moments life is rich and full. The mingled buzz of worries, fears, and anxieties that so often circle your head like a swarm of hungry mosquitoes is quieted. Instead of judging or second-guessing yourself, you are satisfied just to be. Even that old familiar voice of desire, the disturbance in your mind that cries like a needy and demanding child, I want, I want, I want, is somehow stilled. Contentment feels peaceful as the moonlight at the bottom of a stream, ever tranquil amid constant change.

Robert A. Johnson, Jerry M. Ruhl, Contentment