Don’t chase happiness, learn ‘injury resistance’

Tal Ben-shahar is an author and expert on the psychology of happiness. He is also a lecturer, taking the class of one of Harvard University’s most popular courses.

In his years of studying and brooding about positive thinking and the secret to happiness, he has learned important lessons.

Here are his tips for a fulfilling life.

“Resistance to Wounds” – the secret to achieving happiness through hardship

There is a very important concept introduced by Dr., genius mathematician Nassim Taleb, that is antifragility (roughly translated as resistance to injury). In a word, “injury resistance” is version 2.0 of “recovery”.

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Accordingly, recovery is the ability of an object or person to return to a normal state after a stress or event. However, injury resistance is an even more powerful ability – after experiencing stress and events, the person with this ability becomes even stronger, more complete than before. The classic example of this ability is the saying: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.

According to Ben-shahar, man himself is a natural wound resistant machine. For example, when we lift weights, the muscles are put under pressure and then they become stronger.

From a psychological perspective, the same phenomenon is known as PTG – post-traumatic development. Contrary to PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder, PTG makes people strong, mature and hence can live happier lives.

In short, the path to happiness cannot be without the conditions that enable us to develop through hardship.

The paradox of happiness: The more you pursue, the more out of reach

The way people seek happiness is closely related to the path each of us uses to approach it. On the one hand, precious happiness is not only a kind of experience, but also a means to help us achieve other good things in life such as success, satisfaction, love of life, etc.

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However, research by Iris Moss and many others has shown an unexpected paradox: People who are “crazy” in pursuit of happiness, always think “Happiness is very important to me and I want to pursue it” are often the least happy group. Even those who are more susceptible to sadness.

But if we don’t pursue happiness, how will we achieve it?

To answer this paradoxical question, think of a well-known phenomenon in nature: sunlight.

If you look directly at the sun for the purpose of enjoying it, you will definitely be blinded. However, when sunlight is refracted through raindrop crystals, we can comfortably see the rainbow, enjoying its full beauty without looking directly.

Even you can always feel the warm sunshine around on a clear day and enjoy reading, lying on the grass or going to the beach without paying too much attention to the globe. that blazing fire.

In other words, when you consider happiness as something that is always present around you, and more importantly, “breaks down” it into its forming factors, you will easily achieve it without struggling too much.

The “five-color” model of happiness

We already know that happiness is made up of smaller components, so what exactly are those elements?

According to Ben-shahar, those 5 factors can be abbreviated into one word, SPIRE, including: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational and Emotional. touch).

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– The spiritual journey is basically about finding meaning and purpose in life: At work, at home, and in every breath. When you wake up with a clear purpose and meaning, you will easily overcome the barriers in life, as well as grasp the motivation to “resistance”.

– When it comes to physical fitness, the most important factor according to Ben-shahar is stress. In today’s fast-paced industrial era, most workers will be under a lot of pressure. The problem is, the “workaholic” culture in many places is making workers easily exhausted due to the lack of reasonable rest and relaxation time to recover and regenerate physically.

Ben-shahar revealed that the problem is not with stress itself as everyone will experience it, and stress is necessary for resistance to injury. The problem lies in the lack of necessary recovery.

– Intellectually, he said, research shows that people who are always curious, constantly asking questions are not only happier, but also live longer.

Furthermore, it is not enough to just ask questions, but also to immerse yourself in healthy, beneficial materials such as books, works of art, or even nature itself.

– The next factor is probably the most important. According to the happiness science expert, the number one factor that affects happiness is quality time with the people we share our love with. Not only that, the quality of relationships will determine the ability of each of us to be resistant to injury.

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– Finally, let’s talk about emotional integrity. Of course, knowing how to accept negative emotions is important, but nurturing positive emotions is equally important.

So how to cultivate positive emotions?

According to Ben-shahar, the key is “gratitude”. Cicero, the famous ancient Roman philosopher, famously said that succinctly this truth: “Gratitude is the mother of all virtues.”

When we know how to appreciate and be grateful for the good things that are happening to our lives, we can see that life is full and beautiful.

In other words, happiness is not a mere pleasurable experience. Happiness is wholeness. The above 5 factors combine into a single gift – happiness. In fact, happiness is not a destination, nor can it be easily achieved by a single action like a lightbulb being turned on by a switch.

On the contrary, happiness is a lifelong journey. Knowing that, people have realistic expectations instead of illusory.

“I don’t believe that the best things will always happen to us. However, we can always learn to face everything right.” Ben-shahar concluded.

Source: Big Think

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