We’ve all heard the saying ‘When life gives you lemons, just make lemonade’.  What a great idea!  Unfortunately, it can sometimes seem much harder than that concept implies to be happy and at peace when life is difficult.  So, the question becomes ‘How can I feel happy and fulfilled even when my life isn’t going exactly the way I want it to?’

Studies show that happiness is actually more about attitude and less about circumstances.  Of course, it is reasonable to assume that when life is difficult, we will struggle more to find peace and joy.  But when researchers look at this question, what is actually revealed is that our attitude and response to our circumstances is more important than the actual life events. 

Roko Belic is the director of the documentary Happy which looked at the question of what life conditions lead to happiness.  He said, “But in the course of making my happiness film, I learned something simple but completely illuminating. Research showed that just about all happy people have strong relationships. They are healthier and have happier children. They are more likely to find a creative solution to a problem and to help a stranger in need. Happy people have fewer conflicts and are less likely to commit crimes, pollute the environment or go to war“ .  Click here for the movie trailer 

That’s great news!  That means that our efforts to cope with life can lead to real and lasting happiness if we have the right set of skills. 

What are those skills?
·         Communication skills
·         Conflict management
·         Positive self-talk
·         Assertiveness
·         Self-evaluation
·         Staying active in mind and body
·         Social skills
·         Managing emotions effectively (our own and others)

A well-established, highly effective, and lasting treatment is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. It focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns. In this type of therapy the patient is actively involved in his or her own recovery, has a sense of control, and learns skills that are useful throughout life. CBT typically involves reading about the problem, keeping records between appointments, and completing homework assignments in which the treatment procedures are practiced. Patients learn skills during therapy sessions, but they must practice repeatedly to see improvement.