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The How of Happiness (Part II)  By Sonja Lyubomirsky

 Emotional Coping skills – managing: stress, hardship & trauma

Of course we all go through difficult times, the question here is, is how can happiness relate to feeling stress or grief.  The idea is that we are not going to be happy during those times but there are things we can do to get us through those situations. Dr. Lyubomirsky talks about two areas involved in coping with these challenges: problem solving and emotional coping.  In this blog I will talk about four ways that relate to the emotional coping aspect of getting through intense stress and trauma


 Social support

An important resource for dealing with upsetting emotions is getting  social support from partners, friends, family members, and other people who can understand your situation because they have had similar experiences themselves (e.g. someone who has had a life threatening disease or a divorce).  It is important for many people to have folks around that care about them and to be present in a variety of ways; ranging from, just sitting quietly with them to doing practical things like shopping or help preparing a meal.

  Finding a higher purpose

Another way to effectively cope with tragedy or crisis is by   finding a higher purpose. An example of this is John Feal who has been severely injured by 911 attacks and has formed an organization he calls the “FeelGood Foundation”; or The Cancer Hope Network where cancer survivors volunteer to counsel others who are going through their illness.  http://www.cancerhopenetwork.org/

 Seeing the tragedy as a wake-up call

What can also help is  seeing the tragedy as a wake-up call, like: drastically changing life styles of eating, exercising, and sleeping patterns when someone has been stricken with cancer.  

Personality transformation  

Some people as a result of going through grief have a  personality transformation where they spend more time with loved ones or engaging in acts of kindness and caring

 In part III of the series about the book “The How of Happiness”, I will deal with Problem-Focused Coping skills which will talk about the effect that doing something has on feeling better.  In Part IV, there will be a discussion on forgiveness.


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