13 May To Be More Resilient in a Crisis, Focus on Meaning, Not Happiness – A Nobel laureate, a Harvard professor, and an author all offer the same advice.
via Inc.com by Jessica Stillman
There are a lot of sad, stressed people out there right now, pacing their homes wondering how to be happier. But is happiness the right goal to chase?
The first clue that the answer might be no comes from Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who has argued that most people don’t really aim for happiness. That sounds shocking at first, but once you understand the distinction between happiness and satisfaction it makes perfect sense.
Happiness is the positive feeling you get from a walk in nature or tasty dessert. It’s definitely a good thing. But satisfaction runs deeper. It’s the sense of meaning and accomplishment that comes from a life well lived. At the end of the day, most people value satisfaction more. And the kind of things that bring satisfaction — building a business, raising kids — involve plenty of moment-by-moment unpleasantness.
For most of us, meaning trumps happiness. Experts insist that’s even more true in a crisis.
Meaning will get you through a crisis
Research from Harvard Business School professor Jon Jachimowicz, for instance, shows that chasing purpose in your career is more likely to lead to resilience and success than chasing the feel-good ideal of “passion.” When the going gets tough, it’s a sense of meaning that helps you push through, he has found.
In a recent New York Times opinion piece, The Power of Meaningauthor Emily Esfahani Smith argues the same principle holds in the current crisis. Keeping your mood up with exercise, adequate sleep, and social engagement is a fine idea. But research shows the best way to muscle through tough times is by finding meaning in your struggles.
“It may seem inappropriate to call on people to seek the good in a crisis of this magnitude, but in study after study of tragedy and disaster, that’s what resilient people do,” Esfahani Smith reports. “In a study of over a 1,000 people, 58 percent of respondents reported finding positive meaning in the wake of the September 11 attacks, such as a greater appreciation of life and a deeper sense of spirituality.” Another showed that heart attack survivors who find meaning in their ordeal end up healthier…
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