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How to increase happiness by cultivating this one micro-habit.

7 Fun Microtips to Grow Your Resilience With Ease: Day 3. Why? Because happiness is … less attainable, the more we attempt to be happy. Happiness researchers (they really do exist) say that the evidence shows that the more you focus on being happy, the less happy you feel. Confusing. Indeed, almost everything else in […]

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7 Fun Microtips to Grow Your Resilience With Ease: Day 3.

Why? Because happiness is … less attainable, the more we attempt to be happy. Happiness researchers (they really do exist) say that the evidence shows that the more you focus on being happy, the less happy you feel.

Confusing.

Indeed, almost everything else in life, the more we focus on it and practice it, the better we get. Shouldn’t happiness be the same?

One secret to happiness is to let go of expectations.

In other words, if you do things with the intent to increase your experience of happiness, you expect that you will feel happier. Unfortunately, Life Happens. COVID-19 happens. And our missed-expectations cause us distress.

What to do instead?

Focus on building resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back faster, to get up when you fall and keep going. Resilience is the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when the tunnel is very long and very dark.

One aspect of resilience is the ability to think optimistically. You might think that an optimist is always happy, but that is not necessarily the case. The nuance that we need to understand is that the optimist might be sad or grieving today, and yet able to maintain hope that tomorrow, or next month or next year will be better.

As a career coach, a good part of my job is helping my clients to manage their expectations.

– You may expect to have a job tomorrow, but wake up to find out it’s gone.

– You may expect to ace an interview but bomb it instead.

– You may expect a recruiter to be polite and call you back.

– You may expect your boss to say no to a raise when instead she’s been waiting for you to ask…!

In the career coaching world, you might say that failure is a frequent and common aspect of success. If everyone got the first job they applied for with the first version of the resume, they wrote; I wouldn’t be here writing to you today as a Career Coach.

How do you let go of expectations?

Given the current situation in our world, it’s likely that you and your loved ones may be dealing with many different missed expectations.

Awareness.

– The first step is the most obvious and yet most difficult. Simply being aware that you have an expectation can lessen its force.

– Next, consider where and why you have this expectation. From here you can decide what to do next.

Direct communication.

– Instead of “waiting” for a recruiter to call you back, choose to follow-up (politely) your own.

– Clarify. “In this context, what do mean when you say ____________?” Don’t assume anything.

Notice, Name, and Navigate.

– If something happens, that is unexpected, notice, name, and navigate your emotional response.

– If someone (a boss, a spouse, a child) responds to you in a way, you didn’t expect. Reflect (notice and name) their response and then be curious about helping them to navigate a solution.

Luck comes from planning and preparation.

– Make a plan and prepare your best. Consider yourself lucky when it all works out.

– Make a plan and prepare your best. Consider the opportunity to learn when it doesn’t work out.

Let go of comparison.

– Keeping up with the neighbors or your siblings or your idol puts a lot of pressure on you to perform. Celebrate your unique journey and let go of comparison.

– Waiting for the perfect gift or best meeting ever? Be direct. Clear is kind. And then let it go.

Check-in with your Values.

Sometimes what happens is very different from what we hoped and or planned for — this is a great time to check in with our values. What is most important to us? What do we want to focus on? How might we see this situation differently?

– What is really important to you? Are you focusing on “the shoulds” that other people value or on what you personally value? How might you hack a situation to fit your values?

An Exercise in Letting Go

Now that you’ve read over this list grab a piece of paper or your journal. Make a list of some things that make you feel sad, angry, frustrated, or another negative emotion right now in your life.

Reflect on your list and see what (missed) expectations might be causing your distress. Notice, name and navigate.

Next see, if you can flip or reframe your expectation by thinking how this expectation is also connected to something that you are grateful or hopeful for in your life. Now, see if you can come up with even more things that you are thankful for, no matter how small or mundane.

Do this for each item on your list.

That’s it. Hopefully, you feel a bit lighter, and the light at the end of your tunnel is bigger and brighter. 

If you’d like to get weekly positive psychology tips to your inbox that will help you navigate your life, career, and or become a SoMo Leader, I invite you to sing up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram

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