Spiraling Upward

Happiness is good medicine. Growing research shows that happiness strongly and inversely correlates with mental disorders. It is strongly linked to mental health—resilience, self-esteem, optimism, and so forth. What happiness is and why happiness may indeed be the single best indicator of mental health. Early studies indicate that happiness building might be as effective as traditional psychological interventions.

This section of resilience training explores how positive emotions increase our ability to cope with stress and solve problems. Skills related to growing happiness are taught, to include:

  • The key attitudes of wholesome self-esteem and realistic optimism, which are strongly linked to happiness and resilience worldwide
  • Gratitude (including grateful reminiscing and processing of troubled memories with gratitude)
  • Altruism (how giving others a leg up builds happiness)
  • Bonding humor (the judicious use of humor can be extremely effective)
  • Moral strength (strong moral character leads to fewer regrets and trauma symptoms)
  • Long view of suffering (suffering is not all bad; resilient survivors develop ways to view suffering that minimizes pain)
  • Spirituality and religion (research strongly shows that spirituality and religion bolster resilience)
  • Money: attitudes and management (it’s not the amount of money, but how we think of it and use it that matters)
  • Meaning and purpose (give us a reason to persist when the going gets tough)
  • Social intelligence: sociability skills; socially intelligent families (social skills help people in nearly all areas of life be happier and more successful)
  • Resilient leadership (leading from the heart benefits both the leader and the follower)
  • Forgiveness (letting go of hatred and revenge; opening the heart up to love again)
  • Balance (happiness requires that we balance struggling with wholesome recreation; resilient people balance the past, present, and future, and don’t make technology their main focus)
  • Happiness meditation (simple meditations to bounce back from bad moods)