Make Way and Show Up for Happiness and Well-Being

change and transition emotional intelligence - optimism emotional intelligence - self regard emotional intelligence - stress tolerence Jul 15, 2022

As we move through the pandemic recovery process, how do you make way and show up for happiness? Do you find yourself less happy than you anticipated?

Based on the conversations I am having with clients and colleagues, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of us are not as happy as we would have expected at this point. Interestingly, what we think will make us happy is often off-base. It might sound like:

  • I’ll be so happy when businesses re-open to full capacity.
  • I’ll be so happy when we get a cure or promising treatment.
  • I’ll be so happy when we can return to “normal.”

While these things are wonderful and a great relief for many, we overestimate the impact on our happiness. I don’t say this with any judgment. We are all looking forward to a (re)turn to a sense of security in our lives, a little bit of joy and happiness, and well-being.

If you were somehow spared personal loss or trauma during the pandemic, you are still part of the collective trauma 1 The perpetual, unrelenting, and global fight or flight mode has had an impact on our emotional, mental, and physical being. As a result, happiness can elude us or make us feel like we need to put in so much more effort to feel happy. Our emotional energy reserves have been tapped out.

Stressors, Stress, and Happiness

Consider how we respond to stressors 2. Our brains function to protect and serve:

  • our primitive brain reacts to protect us from real or perceived threats, and
  • our modern brain serves in conscious thought and logic – not storage.

How this has played out so far.

The danger of contracting a potentially deadly virus triggers our fear. When we sense a threat (real or perceived), our brain reacts in hyper-drive, bypassing information processing sequences.

  • Typically, our modern brain engages a moment later to gather more information, analyze the threat, and modulate our behaviour – brilliant, but so exhausting.
  • The real danger is when our primitive brain remains engaged too frequently, or too intensely, survival-based emotions become the norm. This leaves little room or energy for happiness.

The factors that influence our happiness are easily misunderstood which just adds to the dilemma. We even think that reducing stress will put us on the right track.

Eliminating or changing stressors is not enough. While Stress Management (flexibility, stress tolerance, and optimism) is important to our well-being, "managing" psychological stress 3 is not enough.

Our happiness is interconnected with all our emotional intelligence abilities. To actually increase our happiness, we need to take action in other areas of our emotional intelligence: Self-Regard, Interpersonal Relationships, Self-Actualization, and Optimism. Yes, more energy! But it’s both necessary and worth the effort: happy people are less likely to have psychological or social problems, are less likely to get ill, and are more likely to do well in facing obstacles.

How do you make way and show up for happiness and well-being?

References and Resources:

  1. Collective trauma, Wikipedia
  2. Stressors, Wikipedia
  3. Psychological Stress, Wikipedia

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