Happiness Is A Skill

Six Sustainable Happiness Skills That Are Essential During Painful Transitions (and life in general)

Research by the University of California at Berkeley has identified six sustainable happiness skills. The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley discovered that “mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity, and gratitude—can help set anyone on the path to sustainable happiness.”

This research arrived in my inbox with an email talking about how to use these “happiness skills” to help our teenagers become resilient and battle common struggles such as anxiety and depression. As I was reading it I immediately thought of all of the adults I know who are dealing with immense anxiety and depression because they are facing a divorce or separation. The six happiness skills are, in fact, the basis of my work as a divorce coach. The skills of mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity, and gratitude take practice, especially in times of conflict, but they are ESSENTIAL to persevering and bouncing back.

Applying these skills to your life when you are in the midst of a divorce may seem a daunting task. Believe me when I say that it is well worth the effort. Not only is developing these skills worth the effort, once practiced, like any skill, they become second nature and will make all aspects of your life easier. Even though the saying goes “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” if you practice these happiness skills during your divorce, you won’t only be stronger, you’ll be invincible. You will have the confidence of knowing you can gracefully and successfully handle anything that life throws at you. You will have the confidence of knowing that, even though we all have hard times and tragedy, those things don’t define us—they are simply part of the fabric of a bigger life. What defines you is how you RESPOND to hard times and tragedy. If you can be mindful of how you are feeling, maintain human connection, CHOOSE to have a positive outlook (this is a choice, not always a natural inclination), throw yourself into something that you feel gives you purpose, be generous to yourself and those around you, and be grateful for blessings, no matter how small, you will be defining yourself as someone who can be happy, even in the most trying of times.

One of my greatest personal satisfactions (and how I found my purpose), is in helping people going through divorce develop the emotional intelligence skills they need to thrive during and after the process. I want to jump for joy when I see a client’s attitude shift from fear and anxiety to positivity and gratitude. These small shifts in mindset make a very rough road much easier to manage.

If you need help, or know someone who does, please reach out! Developing “Happiness Skills” will serve you well long after your divorce is over. Find me at ReginaDeAngelis@FTdivorcecoaching.com or on Facebook at Family Transitions.

Source: The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

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