How Developing Greater Resiliency Will Boost Your Happiness?
As we move through life, we all face a number of challenges, barriers and setbacks that can feel like they get in our way of happiness. The way we face these challenges though is at the core of true happiness. When we can bounce back from the hardships, we face in life with our spirit intact we possess what is known as self-resiliency.
What is Happiness?
Happiness is something we all wish to obtain but many of us lack a clear understanding of what happiness is and therefore have a hard time obtaining it. Many believe that happiness is just positive emotions and feelings, but this defines pleasure more and does not lead to happiness. Instead, it can lead one down a road of suffering and addiction. When we seek out pleasure as happiness, we actually can become less happy as pleasure takes us away from contentment and meaning which is actually more associated with true happiness.
According to Buddhism when we seek out pleasure and positive sensations we suffer because positive sensations are fleeting and so when they are gone, we feel sad and depressed. When we define happiness as pleasant feelings or pleasure, we will work our whole life to chase these feelings and push negative feelings away which results in a lot of suffering since feelings are always changing. According to Buddhism suffering is the seeking of pleasure which results in dissatisfaction and the mind is never satisfied with how things are and we are never content no matter how much we achieve.
Therefore, we are liberated from suffering when we know feelings are impermeant and therefore we stop trying to obtain higher and higher levels of pleasure and avoidance of pain. When we stop pursuing pleasure our mind becomes clearer, and we have more peace and contentment which is true happiness. We no longer link our happiness to our emotions and feeling but instead are able to observe them and find more flow and peace. Happiness does not depend on external circumstances but what happens inside of us and finding peace with our internal environment.
The ability to be mindful and aware of one’s emotions and not be controlled by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain fosters greater resilience and happiness. This is how resilience is linked to happiness.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to adapt to and recover from negativity and stress more easily in life. The ability to be resilient can be cultivated and built which has been shown to improve one’s level of happiness. Too often we are just reacting to the circumstances of life and behaviours of others which can cause us to become overwhelmed and stressed. The ability to take a step back and connect to one’s inner compass helps to shift perspective and emotions in a positive direction that serves one’s growth and well-being.
Traits of Resilient People
Acceptance of painful experiences and emotions
Healthy Support Systems
Realistic Confidence and Optimism
Boosting Your Resilience
Develop Greater Optimism
Optimism is the belief that good things will most likely happen in the future. The opposite of optimism is pessimism the belief that bad things will happen. Research has shown that optimism is linked to greater health as it increases people's motivation to take effective action in bad situations. Since one holds the belief things can get better one is less hopeless and is able to address life problems earlier before they spiral.
To become more optimistic, one has to become more aware of one’s pessimistic patterns of thinking. To do this one must work to become aware of and curious about their beliefs and thought patterns. Once you identify a negative thought you can become curious and see if this thought is serving you or not? Is this thought based on previous negative experiences that are now shadowing the present moment? Is it safe to let this thought go? Is this thought serving your happiness or is it just taking you out of the present moment?
Once you have examined your negative or biased thought patterns you can work to replace them with a more realistic and optimistic option. Changing ones thought patterns is a practice and can take some time to develop new wiring to support more optimistic ways of viewing your life which will slowly increase your resilience and happiness.
2. Connect Resilient Role Models: Surrounding yourself and connecting to people who are resilient and optimistic about life will help you also build this quality in yourself. It can also help to read up on people who are resilient and other books or podcasts that can help teach you to develop this inner resource.
3. Challenge Yourself: When you practice confronting your fears with healthy coping skills it begins to lessen the power they have over you. When we can practice emotional stability in the face of uncertainty and challenge, we begin to develop greater acceptance and resilience.
Many people try to use worry to overcome their fears, but research has shown the worry actually makes us more intolerant of uncertainty and intensified negative emotions and how we interpret our lives. If you can focus on acceptance and use self-compassion and optimism as you face your fears, you will begin to develop a greater tolerance for uncertainty which will boost your resilience and happiness.
4. Use Humor: Never underestimate the power of laughter when it comes to developing resilience, happiness and health. Humor does not ignore difficulties it just changes how we experience them. Humor has the power to add a bit more fun and joy into your life and can flip a negative mood into a positive one, even in difficult circumstances. When we can find humor in hard situations it helps us change our perspective and can make it easier to find solutions as it puts us in a positive frame of mind. People who are resilient are able to use humor to help them experience positive emotions even in challenging situations.