By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
When adversity strikes, what’s your first response? Do you withdraw and try to ignore the problem? Look to others for support? Get suited up for battle?
In his ponderings on human nature, philosopher Aristotle boils it all down to this: How people act when the choice isn’t clear or easy is the gist of who they really are. Whether he knew it or not, Aristotle’s ideas for character all those centuries ago is also a good indicator for happiness: The way we maneuver through life’s traumas speaks volumes about how happy we are.
So how do we react when life’s got us down? We could take the first road, pretending the problem isn’t there, or look to others for comfort. But both those approaches keep us stagnant, preventing us from using that negative energy to propel us forward. If an acquaintance starts spreading hurtful rumors about you, gossiping back only spreads the gloom. The best way to make a statement about your worth is to use that negative buzz around the neighborhood to fuel your search for joy. Take up a musical instrument, volunteer at a local shelter, or even learn a new language! Find something, anything, positive to throw your energy into so that adversity isn’t the main thing occupying your mind.
Flourishing — being energized, engaged and positive about life — is better revenge than malice or a juicy rumor. It shows off your strength and confidence, and tells adversity that you’re the one in control. Finding ways to maintain our happiness mantra amid negative people and events is the key to staying happy – and I bet resisting revenge gossip and the temptation of hostility would prompt Aristotle to say a lot of good things about your character.
Often, a practice as simple as repeating a single-sentence mantra can go a long way toward helping us develop positive life habits. When adversity hits, it is more important than ever to focus on positive energy that propels us forward. The next time you are faced with a tough situation that has the potential of knocking you down, remember this mantra: My ability to flourish and stay positive is bigger than any troubles I am experiencing.
Repeat this mantra at key points in your day: Say it ten times aloud when you wake up in the morning, five times each time you pick up your cellphone to make a call, and ten more times as you lie in bed reflecting on the day you’ve had. As you say each word in the mantra, truly think about its meaning and try to live the next hours of your day according to its message.
By having this mantra as something concrete and predictable to turn to every time life gets shaky, you’ll learn the art of staying grounded amid uncertainty. You’ll be flourishing before you know it.