Built to Last

It’s a fact of life that bad things happen, and nobody ever escapes life’s adversities. Despite these stressors and setbacks, humans are adaptable and can develop resilience and capacities to overcome hardships. However, “mental health is more than just the alleviation of symptom distress; it also encompasses the concept of living well” (McTiernan et al., 2021). If we want to ‘live well’ and lead lives where we can access self-actualisation, we might sometimes need a little help.

Wellbeing can be very subjective and can mean something different to every person. Generally, wellbeing is thought to include things like physical and mental health and flourishing in the social and spiritual aspects of life (Trudel-Fitzgerald et al., 2019). So, the question is, if we want to thrive, experience wellbeing and be healthy, what do we need to do?

Research shows that increased resilience is associated with improved mental health and improved psychological outcomes like coping and self-efficacy (Ke et al., 2022).

We can become more resilient by experiencing more adversity and adapting, or we could start to implement positive psychological interventions that would, over time, have the same effect.

Why don’t you try this exercise over the next four weeks and see the difference in your life? Not just feeling happy but beginning a lifelong journey of focusing on the positive and good of life.

The Happiness assignment

  1. Act kindly to family, friends and workmates and report on the positive reactions evoked in a diary or journal.
  2. Every day, spend ten minutes recounting happy memories from your life. Don’t write anything down; think about them and picture the events in as much detail as possible.
  3. Over the two weeks, perform four random acts of kindness for strangers. So, for example, pay for someone’s coffee, offer someone your place in a long cue at a shopping centre or even pay for someone’s groceries. The list is endless.

By focusing on the positive past and positive now, the emotions you experience will make you feel good at this point in time and could produce future wellbeing (Ouweneel et al., 2013).

Start today, and you will be glad you did for your future.