The best way to do that is to do something that makes you happy. When you find yourself in an emotional situation and you're struggling to get a hold of yourself, walk away and choose instead to do something that makes you happy. Each time you actively try to engage in an activity which brings you joy you'll find your negative emotions ebbing away quicker with each effort you make. Harness the all-consuming power of happiness, because it's a good kind of emotion which will benefit you and everyone else around you. Considering all these potential benefits, I was not surprised by the results of a series of studies on `social expertise' conducted by the psychologist Thomas Hess. Hess found that social expertise reaches a peak in later life. 5 Sadly, it seems that few older people make use of these abilities. Many tend to shut themselves indoors. They avoid getting out in the evenings, claiming tiredness as an excuse. Avoidance gradually becomes a habit. Many elderly folk simply sink into their armchairs, giving up anything which requires moving out of their comfort zone. The individuation process can help us to break the habit of social avoidance -- just as we can break the habit of avoiding physical exercise. Breaking out of our physical activity and social comfort zones will do much to improve our physical and social health. All of these typical tips on how to become resilient works and I highly endorse these methods. Yet before these conventional resilience strategies work, you must first be willing to learn. I am not saying that by being willing will miraculously make your suffering go away. Willingness will not do that. But when you accept the discomfort you are feeling, your suffering probably won't get worse. The problem with these negative emotions is that they feel so damn awful.
When they come up, you struggle to get rid of them. But the more you put up a fight, the worse your disappointment feels. Being willing neutralizes these painful emotions by helping them remain at a stable level of discomfort. And on its own time, it will lessen. Then he was to focus the rest of the energy on making the putt. If he was still pissed after walking off the green, he was to try and pulverize the ball all over again. I'll give you a hundred bucks if you break it, I joked. Jeff got the idea. He saw the humor in it, which was part of his therapy, but more important, he found his anger working for him instead of against him. Later that year he won his first college tournament by beating future PGA star Phil Mickelson in a play-off. Anger has gotten a very bad rap in our culture. We no longer differentiate anger from violence, cause from effect. With gun slaying on the rise in our schools, we're on a national campaign to eliminate not just the violence but any outward show of anger. It's quite politically incorrect to suggest that anger be tapped and utilized when government leaders, school administrators, parents, and teachers everywhere are scared to death of it and want it eliminated altogether. I had learned (or should have learned) many things. One of the most useful was that the definition of beauty depended not only on who was looking but also on what they were looking for. I could change my own focus if I needed to or, if others were looking, pull a sleight of hand. I'd done that very thing recently, when I'd gone to a friend's dressy party wearing a fresh rose behind my ear instead of makeup and jewelry. Picking the rose out with Hattie had been the highlight of my day. It did fall out on the dance floor, but it gave me the boost of appearance self-confidence that the red dress hadn't the year before.
In the days leading up to the firm's party, I began to suspect that the real problem had not been with the red dress or how I looked in it, but with my attitude toward the party itself. I'd been swept up by my own vision of myself, dazzling in a dazzling metier, as red-hot as the font on the invitations in my new dress. And when the whole thing--the party, my outfit, my dazzlement--fell short of my largely self-manufactured hype, the disillusionment was severe. The antidote, then, was to be free of illusions. A happier state of mind also makes it much easier for you to think with clarity, and in doing so, gives you a much better handle at controlling your emotions. Focus on the solution, not the problem. The force of the emotions that we feel can still manage to get the better of us, even when we're trying hard to reel them in. It is especially difficult because you're now trying to change the pattern of behavior that you have been used to for so long. The more you focus on the problem, the harder it is going to be to control your emotions, which is why you need to do the opposite. Instead of focusing on the problems, turn your attention to the solution instead. When emotions are running high, it is easy for someone else's anger, frustration or any other emotion they may be experiencing to rub off on you (emotions are contagious, remember? ), and this will disrupt your own attempts at trying to master your emotions. It helps to focus on the situation at hand to help you find a solution to the problem. The challenge here would be trying not to lose sight of the real issue that you should be focusing on. As we saw in piece of writing 12, it is important to start with physical activity. It will help you cope better with the tiredness and lack of motivation which cause you to fall asleep in front of the TV at 8 pm. Another common reason for leaving our new social abilities on the shelf is the belief that older bodies are ugly, and that now we are retired we've ceased to be attractive. The media disseminates the insidious stereotype that beauty and attractiveness belong only to youth. The anti-aging industries work very hard to convince us that we must follow their prescriptions in order to maintain our `youth'. One of the benefits of the individuation process is that it enables us to refute these stereotypes and let them go.
If we allow our personalities to shine by being interesting, surprising, and even cool and naughty, we turn out to be much more fun to be with than when we were young. Attractiveness during the wisdom years is a different quality than that encountered in adulthood. It doesn't matter how many wrinkles we have, whether we have fatter arms as women or skinnier arms as men, and whether our hair has turned grey -- or white. Our calling card to the outer world should now be featuring our inner vitality and wisdom in large font. In the meantime, you can learn from the experience and gain strength from it. This does not mean that being willing is a passive act. Being passive does not mean you bend over and let the adversity shove large objects up your ass and do nothing about it. On the contrary, being willing frees you to fight back. Being willing is only half of the equation; taking courageous action is the second half. When you stop struggling with trying to eliminate your negative feelings, you also stop wasting precious time and effort too. By accepting the discomfort, you can put all your attention and energy on finding a solution for what's emotionally killing you. Stop fighting, start accepting and begin acting. When you are willing to have an open mind about your pain, you will take action to discover insights to help you defeat the obstacle. But I maintain that anger is not something you can eliminate. Press it down, deny it exists, insist it exists for the wrong reasons, and it will only bubble up in some unanticipated and perhaps even violent way. We stand a much better chance of controlling violence if we find ways to harness the anger behind it. So much good can come from applying this enormous natural resource if only we acknowledge its value and learn how to channel its power. My experience in the military made me utterly committed to finding nonviolent solutions to conflict. And yet the military also taught me that anger is often what keeps us from succumbing to adversity.
Without it we accept setbacks we should fight to overcome. Without it we are victims. And victims don't shape their future or make their dreams happen. Upon entering West Point, I was probably the last person you'd describe as a fighter. Maybe the truth was that at my husband's work function, there was really no room for my own red-hotness or true elegance except as an extension of John's status and competence. Why don't you pick out my outfit this year? I suggested to John. It's your work thing, so maybe I should look the way you want me to look. I hereby divest myself of any emotional investment in this party. He sighed. Maybe you should give me some options, he said as he stared at his own travel-mangled suits hanging in the closet. A friend had pressed one of her unneeded cocktail dresses upon me when we were in the States. It was simple and black, so I laid it on the bedspread. Out came the shiny black-patent pumps from last year and a different pair of low black heels I'd bought for a funeral. When faced with an emotional situation or person, remind yourself that there must be a reason for it, and you need to find out what that reason is before you can attempt to find a solution for it. Instead of thinking I'm so angry or I am furious, think about What can I do to resolve this instead. There's always a reason and a trigger for every emotional outburst and getting to the root cause of it is how to try to resolve the problem. When everyone else is feeling emotionally charged up, it's not going to help matters in any way if you join the crowd and add fuel to the fire. Instead, try an alternative solution where you are the one who continues to remain calm instead. Allow yourself to be the one who keeps a cool head on their shoulders and take on the role of problem solver instead.