Whatever life throws at us, boosting our resiliency can help us survive and thrive. In good times and bad, resiliency lets us bounce back from setbacks, cope with stress, and forge ahead with hope and courage. That’s why I was so grateful when my wonderful friend C.J. Lonoff, founder of Speaking Matters (https://www.speakingmatters.org), invited me to “Resilience Boosters,” an online talk by one of her gifted speakers, Tal Ben-Shahar (http://www.talbenshahar.com).
An expert in the science of happiness, Tal Ben-Shahar is co-founder of the Happiness Studies Academy, and a widely read author whose books include the New York Times bestseller, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. Some of his inspiring advice:
In our lives and work, three powerful factors, or “ABCs” influence us: heart, body, and mind. To build resiliency, create positive change, and meet adversity, all three must be nourished.
Affect: the heart — our emotions and feelings
- “Give yourself permission to be human” – to “experience the full range of emotions fear, anger, love, joy. Let them flow through you. When you reject painful emotions, they intensify.”
- Create a gratitude journal – it will make you “happier, more generous, healthier. You can always, always find something to be grateful for…. When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”
Behavior: what we do and how our body responds
- Stay strong – Physical movement relieves stress. When facing pressure, exercise is more important than ever. Look into online videos to keep active and engaged.
- Nurture relationships – our bonds with family, friends, and others are the #1 predictor of happiness and well-being. While apart physically, make online interactions a daily ritual. Stay connected and involved.
Cognition: our thoughts and mindset
- Positive distractions – “The media is not a mirror of reality, it is a magnifying glass – it magnifies the negative.” To shield yourself, it’s important to “refocus on what’s working and broaden your perspective.” Pursue healthy distractions: listening to music, watching funny videos, or reading.
- Find benefits: “Benefit finding is the opposite of fault-finding.” What benefits can you extract from your current situation? It may inspire you to appreciate life more, spendmore time with family and friends, write more, reflect more. All these can help us make the best of what’s happening.
So here’s a simple strategy for feeling happier right now wherever you are: Give yourself permission to be human, express gratitude, exercise, nurture your relationships, expand your world through positive distractions, and find benefits in adversity. And remember: when we take these steps, “because happiness is contagious, we’re also helping others do the same.” Bravo, Tal Ben-Shahar! Let’s stay strong and stay positive as we all write on!