Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Contentment

When it comes to emotion, sometimes we need a brainstorming nudge. After all, each character will express their feelings differently depending on their personality, emotional range, and comfort zone. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how your character might show this emotion!

If you need to go deeper, we have detailed lists of body language, visceral sensations, dialogue cues, and mental responses for 130 emotions in the 2019 expanded second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.


· Relaxed posture
· Slow easy breathing
· Smiling
· A warm voice, a caring tone
· Crossing the arms over the chest
· Eyes half-closed, a lidded look of satisfaction
· A feeling of connection to life
· Lacing the fingers behind the head
· A wide stance, open demeanor
· Slack muscles, loose limbs, no big or fast movements
· Rolling the neck back and forth and smiling
· (Guys) legs akimbo when sitting, taking up more space than usual
· Looping one’s thumbs into the front pockets while standing
· An easy walk, unhurried
· A wandering gaze, taking in random things
· A satisfied sigh…

Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.

If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression has helped writers all over the globe, and it can help you. To find out more about this bestselling book, please visit our bookstore.

Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?

The Emotion Thesaurus is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.

TIP: While you’re there, check out our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that helps you create deep, memorable characters in half the time!



Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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[…] Conveying Contentment […]

12 years ago

That’s a good point tho, Marian–they way superheros and the like are shown, it’s kind of, “Look at me–I’m a MAN!”

Sadly it is still raining here…

12 years ago

Great list! Thanks!

Mary Witzl
12 years ago

We had at least one month of solid rain; everything was mossy or moldy and every slug in the garden was so fat I could hardly stand it. Now we finally have sun and even though I’m not a sun worshipper, I’m content.

Sadly, we also have biting insects…

12 years ago

I used to wonder why guys sat like that, with their legs akimbo. Finally I decided it might have something to do with virility – you know, the way superheroes are often drawn standing with their legs apart, thumbs tucked into their belts in such a way as to subtly emphasize the crotch region? It didn’t occur to me that it could be a sign of simple relaxation as well. Me with my mind in the gutter. 🙂

12 years ago

Sit in the garden? *cries* It’s pouring rain here!

Mary Witzl
12 years ago

Oh, I could use some of this!

I think I’ll take a deep, satisfied breath and go sit in the garden.