Many of us have some form of eternal bliss or Heaven as our apparent goal often contrasted with eternal torment or dissatisfaction. The source of all mentally created dissatisfaction appears to stem from the ability to compare and contrast experiences and find reality as one is living it to be less than ideal. The monotheistic (Abrahamic) faiths of Judaism, Christianity, & Islam, believe this was caused by man eating of the forbidden Tree (FRUIT, APPLE etc) of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man's eyes were "opened" to know the distinction between good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Other faiths propagate the Karma theory of rebirth based on good and bad actions. The solution is to seek out ways to either make experienced reality conform to the ideal and/or to lower expectations to the level of the experience.
It is pretty obvious that when one can live in the moment with expectations in harmony with experiences one has achieved the greatest mental contentment possible. Variants of this pursuit are found in many religions and manifest in different forms of meditation, prayer and rituals.
The American philosopher, Robert Bruce Raup wrote a book Complacency:The Foundation of Human Behavior (1925) in which he claimed that the human need for complacency (i.e. inner tranquility) was the hidden spring of human behavior. Dr. Raup made this the basis of his pedagogical (science of education) theory, which he later used in his severe criticisms of the American Education system of the 1930s.
Pedagogy is the science of education which requires an instructor who develops conceptual knowledge and manages the content of learning activities in pedagogical settings. The learner requires assistance to develop prior knowledge and integrate new knowledge using Verbal/Linguistic and Logical/Mathematical intelligence. The learner must learn how to learn while developing existing schema and adopting knowledge from both people and the environment. This is low order learning of conceptual knowledge, techniques, procedures, and algorithmic problem solving.
In many ways, Contentment, which can be defined as the state of being satisfied, can be closely associated with the concept of happiness. In Positive Psychology social scientists study what might contribute to living a good life, or what would lead to people having increased positive mood and overall satisfaction with their life. Happiness, in Positive Psychology, is defined in a twofold manner, which in totality is referred to as Subjective Well-Being. How much positive emotion (Positive Affect) as opposed to negative emotion (Negative Affect) does a person have, and how does one view one's life overall (global satisfaction) are the questions asked in Positive Psychology to determine Happiness. Maybe Contentment could be more associated or closely related to a person's level of satisfaction with his/her life (global satisfaction), but nevertheless the idea of Contentment is certainly intertwined in the concept of what makes people happy. Positive Psychology finds it very important to study what contributes to people being happy and to people flourishing, and finds it just as important to focus on the constructive ways in which people function and adapt, as opposed to the general field of psychology which focuses more on what goes wrong or is pathological with human beings.
People make choices in one of two ways. One type is a decision that one makes once his/her criteria is met. The other type is the one who won't make a decision until every possible option is explored. It might be intuitive to see how the research has shown that being the former is positively associated with happiness, and being the latter is negatively associated with happiness.
Is happiness genetic? is it possible for some who moves into a state of unhappiness to return back to an "original" state of happiness defined by his genes that he inherited from his ancestors?
Through factor analysis, personality has been narrowed down to the theory called the Big Five Factor, which are these five aspects of heritable personality traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Research has shown that personality is 50% heritable. There are two aspects of personality which are related to happiness. There is a strong relationship between Extraversion and happiness, in that the more extraverted a person is (or behaves in fact) the more happy he/she will be. The other aspect of personality which has a strong relationship to happiness is the genetic predisposition to Neuroticism. The more neurotic (emotionally unstable) a person is, the more likely he/she is to be unhappy.
Achieving goals that are important to you, and, that are in alignment with your personality, can contribute to your feelings of confidence and mastery. It is important to establish goals that are neither too easy or too hard, but that are optimally challenging. It is also important to note that investing energy in avoiding goals will contribute to diminishing happiness as well as deter one from reaching one's goals, which can be quite intuitive to understand.
Many of us strongly associate money with happiness, and believe that being rich will contribute greatly to make us happier. This idea is increasing as the World society reflects this growing materialism. Although wealth is associated with some positive outcomes, viz; better health, and lower infant mortality, and can act as a buffer in certain instances, the overall relationship between money and happiness is marginal. That is, that, beyond a low threshold where the basic needs are met, money has a very small impact on happiness. There is also the concept of the Diminishing Marginal Utility of Income (DMUI), which is that money has no effect on happiness once a certain income level has been reached, and which represents wealth and happiness as having a curvi-linear relationship.
All religious teachings do concentrate on the final goal of happiness in the form of Heaven, Nirvana, Bliss, etc whereby the parish are expected to totally focus on a "happy" state after death while considering this earthly life a mere transition phase of materialism, based on pleasure and pain, rewards and losses.
At the end of the day it is very possible that one could attain peace of mind, happiness, and contentment by simply being nice to ones fellow human being and even the rest of the species that survive on our planet. This basic premise, as much as it is the foundation in all religious teachings, doesn't truly have the necessary impact on th human mind once he/she is attached to a system that has been nurtured from conception, sadly.