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How to find happiness in times of adversity

Mango Juice - 1 Mar 2017

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BEING HAPPY IS MORE ABOUT FINDING FULFILMENT IN YOUR WORK AND RELATIONSHIPS THAN ABOUT SOME ELUSIVE STATE OF JOY AND ELATION. HAPPINESS VS FULFILMENT To begin, I believe the notion of happiness has become tenuous and misleading — too frequently associated with transient wants and needs. I prefer to think of finding happiness as seeking fulfilment. The philosopher Aristotle thought so too, characterising the goals of wholeness, wellness and wellbeing (as opposed to hedonism and gratification) as eudaimonia, which can be translated as "human flourishing". In a nutshell, happiness is the fulfilment of whatever is perceived to be important and partly missing in your life. This "missingness" is sometimes called a void, and the filling of that void is sometimes called happiness. As you can probably imagine, every individual has a unique set of voids and values, and so their pursuit of happiness will be unique. But there are some basics that are.common to everyone. Let's unpack a few of those together. LIFESTYLE ADVICE Unhappy about humanitarian crises? If there's something concrete you can do to help, do it. If not, make a difference in your own world — at.community, city or country level. Exert a positive impact on your environment. If you can't do anything about Syrian refugees, find a smaller issue you can do something about, and contribute there. Experiencing financial hardships? Time and again I meet people who expect to have financial liberty without serving others or saving. For financial freedom you need a good work ethic (to develop a source of income), selfworth (so you're motivated to save), and the right investments (identified by reading, research and questions). Financial freedom means work. Be honest with yourself. Are you fantasising? Are you waiting for someone or something to swoop in and save you? How can you serve more people more effectively? This is the way to make more money. Experiencing relationship trouble? Define the specific challenge in your relationship. What is your role in that problem or issue? Which of your perceptions do you have the power to change? What are the decisions or actions you could take to improve the situation? Remember: the greatest relationship you can have is one that gives you support and challenge. If any two people are exactly the same, one of them is unnecessary. You need a balance of positive and negative feedback to grow and evolve. Feeling overwhelmed and overloaded? Once other people can access and take up your time, you can't get essential things done. Look at your day and schedule a dedicated chunk of time for emails, requests, social media and so on. Fill your day with highpriority activities that feed you — not lowpriority activities that don't. Choose: can it, delegate it, or engage it. PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCKPHOTOHow to find happiness in times of adversity WORDS: DR JOHN DEMARTINI QUESTIONS TO START WITH If you want to feel better during troubling times, it's important to remember that you're likely to be unable to exert control over big things, like election results, humanitarian crises or natural disasters. Key questions to ask yourself are: What's the issue that's causing me unhappiness? What perceptions and attitudes do I have about this issue? How can what I'm feeling about the issue be turned into the best possible opportunity to serve others and myself? Where can I actually exert control or contribute? Therefore, what decisions or actions can I take? Every problem is an opportunity to make a difference. And if you work to fill your day with meaningful problems, there simply won't be room for it to fill up with trivial problems that don't. 1. Unhappy about politics or society? Ask yourself, are there really more drawbacks here than benefits? Let's use Trump as an example — half the US population voted him in. What did they see in him? What do you see in him? Expand your awareness, talk to people whose opinions differ from yours, and try to keep an open mind. )! And the bottom line? Every event is neutral until you decide to make a heaven or a hell out of it. Clearly define the issue that's making you feel unhappy or unfulfilled. Flip it into an opportunity and use it to serve more people in a way that's meaningful to you. www.drdemartini.com 0

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