Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle

Resilient is the New Happy. Here is Why

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Be honest. Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered why you aren’t happy?

If you said “yes,” then know that you’re not alone. That feeling of being “not happy” might be more common than you think.

Have you ever wondered how many people actually feel very happy? Social media makes it seem as if everyone but you is super happy. This results in people feeling worse about themselves and their lives. So, here are some relevant numbers.

In a recent survey conducted by Rutgers University, only 33% of Americans said that they were very happy. That is a sad number that leaves 77% of us wondering, “Why don’t WE feel very happy and what should we do about it?”

The truth of the matter is that as life grows more and more complex, happiness seems to become more and more of a challenge to achieve.

 

So, does it really make sense to define happiness as one of our goals? Not so much.

Researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Toronto recently conducted four studies to research how people perceive and pursue happiness. The underlying question was “Can you pursue happiness and will it really work for you if you do?”

According to the findings, the answer is that pursuing happiness as a goal is a literal waste of time. Worse than that, defining happiness as a goal encourages us to trade experiences for material things in an effort to “buy” a little happiness. Science has proven this is a poor substitute for genuine happiness.

There is no guarantee that you will face no setbacks in life, but how you choose to deal with them is definitely within your control. It’s not when you are oblivious to the blows of life that you are happy; it’s when you know how to bounce back with strong and optimistic spirits that you actually end up happier.

 

It’s the ability to cope that leads to happiness. The more resilient we are, the happier with our lives and with ourselves we end up being.

 

Resilience is actually coping with stress in a positive way. This is where you have a sense of control not over WHAT happens to you but over HOW you interpret and react to it. This is where you trust yourself that you can cope, that you can overcome and that you can grow out of challenging and difficult situations.

 

Through purpose, we find our compass in life. Through resilience, we find the ability and strength to have confidence in ourselves to navigate through tough situations. Confidence and trust in our ability are real. They’re real because resilience can be developed and enhanced with effort over time.

 

Here is the top science-based tip for building resilience: change your words when you talk about the difficulties you are currently facing.

 

Take the words “crisis” and “problems” out of your vocabulary completely. Use the word “challenge” instead.

 

You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Using the language of resilience will help you tremendously in training your mind to focus on your strengths rather than on your challenges. For that, you use two phrases: “I CAN” (get through this, pass that test, get a new job, etc.) and “I WILL.”

 

Repeat that to yourself over and over again. There is nothing that you cannot do. You can get through this and you will be happier.

 

It is in your hands.

You CAN and you WILL.