When it comes to life’s challenges and disappointments, there is no easy pass. True dat, hardships can knock you to your knees but you have to summon up that inner strength to keep from being swallowed up by that unfortunate superpower of negativity. Even though you know, you must pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try to get on with life, it ain’t easy!  You can, however, refashion your brain to get back to a happy place and pretty much remain there.

Research has shown that focusing on feelings like fear and insecurity, for example, can create the perfect breeding ground for negativity. The weaker or more negative your thought patterns, the more you feel the full effects of whatever is challenging you in your life. What we tend to spend our time and mental energies focusing on can indeed become our reality. The more you tweak your perspective and focus on the positive rather than giving in to your negative tendencies, the stronger your emotional resiliency becomes.

Let me ask you a question: How many times have you said to yourself, “I will be happy when I…get a new job, lose weight, make more money, or find a mate?” Folks who think like this only believe that happiness can come through the acquisition of something new and different. They are constantly chasing, and never really attaining. Sadly, the chase never ends. These people must learn to stop placing a conditional clause on happiness because it prevents them from valuing their current circumstances as worthy of genuine satisfaction.

When you think about it, many people really want to be happy now. Those who are happy fully understand that happiness is a choice. These people have done away with the crippling kind of thinking that waits for everything to be just right before any happiness in life can be experienced.

Sometimes life can throw us a curve that can affect even the most positive person with a strong optimistic mind. Those who have learned to transcend their adversities and still have a forgiving attitude towards life won’t allow themselves to wallow in self-pity and can actually put their thoughts and emotions in check. Not to say that you should not give yourself permission to be human at times, after all, we do need more than bliss to live a truly authentic life. Feel free to experience a gamut of unpleasant emotions but just do not remain in this place. We have to learn how to open up the door to divine strength and keep it moving after we’ve had time to heal. Passing through rough terrain transforms lives involuntarily but the rough spots should empower you to rebound and grow.

There are helpful strategies that can bring you back to happy even after life’s tests:

  • Listen to your favorite old school or gospel music; pray or meditate; read inspirational quotes and/or scriptures; exercise; chat with positive influencers—mentor, clergy, teacher, therapist, relative or friend–who can steer you back to a better outlook on life.
  • Read books that will help you seek out a more balanced way to live and approach to life such as The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. According to Achor, “Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative and upwardly productive.” He goes on to state that when we learn how to restructure or rewire our brain, we can overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, make the most of opportunities, and reach our fullest potential—in life and in work.
  • Redefine failure.  If something does not go as planned, so what! Kick to the curb those feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. Practice finding a silver lining in all you do because everything is a learning experience and you are better for it!  Keep in mind that the value of your life cannot be quantified by mere successes.
  • Learn to trust your future self to have the strength, courage and wisdom to handle any outcome. Invaluable wisdom gained from experience can help you find your happy place and maneuver in it quite comfortably.