If the State of Happiness is a healthy mind, body and spirit then the capital city would be Emotional Well-being. If your emotional well-being is suffering then chances are your mental, spiritual and physical realms are suffering too. How does one repair damaged emotional well-being? What kind of transformation does that take?
None of us are born emotionally damaged, ill or bankrupt yet that will be how some of us end up. People can feel beaten up emotionally by others, by circumstance, by lack of success, by life.
Some people are resilient and overcome emotional setbacks without long lasting impact. They may even thrive after an emotional setback. Others languish and may breakdown mentally, physically, and spiritually because of uninterrupted emotional turmoil. Seemingly unable to turn things around they can become paralyzed, steeped in emotional misery. When you are viewing everything through a blemished and broken emotional lens, everything around you will look blemished and broken too.
What is the difference between these two types of people?
A 12 year long landmark study be a leading psychologist, Dr. Salvatore R. Maddi, found that those who thrived in spite of ruinous emotional stress possessed three key beliefs or traits that helped them weather adversity and turn it to their advantage. It all came down to attitude: the commitment attitude that would lead them to act to be involved in ongoing events, the control attitude that would lead them to struggle to try and influence outcomes, and the challenge attitude that would lead them to view stressors, whether positive or negative, as new learning and growth opportunities. Dr. Maddi termed this hardiness.
The operative word here is attitude. Is your attitude something that is handed to you by someone else, dictated by circumstance or something you are born with perhaps? No dear reader, like so much else in life, the attitude you have about anything and everything is a personal choice.
Good emotional health doesn’t automatically fall onto you from the sky as you sit and contemplate all that is wrong with your life. Emotional balance is something that can be, should be, must be cultivated and developed. Like anything else in life that is worthwhile, it takes choosing differently for yourself, some effort, some practice, some patience and time.
Some might argue that this is easy to do for people who are successful. It is easy to be happy, hardy and more resilient when you are successful, right? Psychologist Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside found that chronically happy people turn out to be more successful across many life domains than people that are less happy. Makes sense. The surprise was that their happiness was in large part a direct consequence of their positive emotions and attitudes rather than from their success.
The people were happy before they were successful. They became more successful because they were happy. It came down to attitude.
It is time to state something clearly and unequivocally here. Everyone is entitled to their own emotions. Everyone should own their own emotions and be wholly responsible for them. It is then, and only then, that one is able to change them.
How do you make yourself happy? Well, I know how to do that for myself. I have no idea how to make you, dear reader, or anyone else happy. That is your journey and theirs, not mine.
I have some general rules of what might make happiness easier to obtain for most of the people who aren’t happy. Embrace, cling to, no, devour the positive aspects of living and life. Read poetry, uplifting books, inspirational stories. Improve yourself. Learn! Watch comedies. Laugh! Laugh some more. Laugh at yourself.
Avoid negativity. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Avoid like the plague those who fail to crystallize you to your full potential.” That’s pretty emphatic! Surround yourself with positive people. Decide to become, at all costs, a positive person. It is but a choice after all.
Are you hardy, resilient and happy? Or, emotionally unbalanced? Are you thriving or in need of emotional transformation?
Please return soon for the next part in this series when I will discuss the physical realm of transformation.