The men and women who serve in the U.S. military are a dedicated and determined collection of individuals. They are young and not so young. They are single and married, with children and without. They are straight and gay, financially stable and barely scraping by. And they are from all races and all communities. They are highly skilled, well trained, and impressively hard-working. They withstand a level of physical and psychological strain that most of us would neither choose nor be able to tolerate. They witness brutality and suffering that we can barely imagine.
Over the course of the past two years, This Emotional Life has invited us to consider happiness in our lives. The definition of happiness most agreed upon by neuroscientists, psychiatrists, economists, positive psychologists and Buddhist Monks is not of happiness as the state of bursting with glee but of happiness as a sense of well being, contentment, the feeling of living a meaningful life, of utilizing one’s gifts, of living with thought and with purpose.
Every parent wants to raise their child to be strong. To be able to pick her or himself up after falling, shake off a poor grade at school or a mean comment from a "friend." The ability to do this and stay focused on your inner strength is an important lesson in childhood...and actually in life. With twenty years of working with parents and children, I have found there are certain things that resilient kids do and I share 3 key ones here.
Undeniably, sooner or later, we all have to deal with life’s realities—those hard surprises and “unknowns” that can literally change everything in less than a nanosecond.
Imagine you’ve just been fired. Many of us would react to this situation in at least some of the following ways:
"I should have seen this coming.”
“I’ll never find another job in this economy.”
“Am I going to be homeless?”
“I’m a failure.”
One method of dealing with stress is learning how to recognize and talk back to that internal critic you have in your head. Write down all the self-critical thoughts going through your mind. Write down why these thoughts are incorrect. Then, practice talking back to them, explaining why they are wrong.
As the new year approaches each year, many of us start thinking of resolutions. It can actually feel uplifting to begin a new plan such as joining a gym to get fit, writing one page a day for the next Great American novel, or more prosaically, keeping up with your inbox).