“A perfect day doesn't exist” Murphy called it. Tell me about a perfect day that you’ve had recently. A day that you woke up without worrying that you’d miss the bus to get to work; a day that you didn’t need to struggle when thinking about what to get for lunch; a...
HAPPINESS IN WORKPLACES: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
#DIAPERDON – WHY TRUMP WILL NEVER GET DEPRESSED!
Donald Trump at his comically small deskThe scene was part of a Thanksgiving speech followed by a press conference where he berated a reporter, “You’re just a lightweight!” Trump continued to rage, “Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way!” What followed was many memes trolling him as a baby throwing tantrums with #DiaperDon. That caused him to rage out at Twitter, accusing the Tech company of making false trends. “For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!” Trump raged on with his tweets. He was referring to a 1996 US law that protects websites from content posted by users.
TRUMP’S NATURAL DEFENSE AGAINST DEPRESSIONWould Trump ever get depressed? In our views, hardly! When a demeaning post was trending, he said it was made up. When he lost the election, he said it was rigged. According to The Fact Checker by The Washington Post, Trump has made 23,035 false or misleading claims in 1,331 days. From an average of 5 claims a day during his first 100 days to an average of over 23 claims a day towards his last 100 days of presidency, Trump has a way of explaining things to himself and the world – that made him quite resistant to depression. If you look through his claims, you can find a general trend. If it’s good news, it’s because of him. If it’s bad news, it’s because of someone else. A model explaining depression suggests explanatory style plays a big part.
NOT ME, NOT ALWAYS, NOT EVERYTHINGExplanatory style can be categorized into three dimensions:
- Personal: Me or Not Me
- Permanent: Always or Not Always
- Pervasive: Everything or Not Everything
THE CONS OF BEING TRUMPOne could easily push one’s responsibility away – shirking off one’s accountability. Sometimes we need to realistically take responsibility for the bad things that happened. What may work better is to consider the other two dimensions: Permanent (Always or Not Always) and Pervasive (Everything or Not Everything). If bad things happened, sometimes we need to take responsibility by attributing it to ourselves (i.e. “Me”). But what is important is to see the benefits of explaining it as “Not Always” and “Not Everything” because it signifies room for improvement, much like having a Growth Mindset. For example, when you next received a bad feedback from your boss, instead of thinking, “I’m never good enough,” consider how empowering if you would to think, “I can learn a new skill from this feedback.” Thanks #DiaperDon for this inspiration.
THE JOY OF BREAKING OR FIXING THINGS
SUPPRESSIONOne way to regulate our emotions is to inhibit the expression of our inner feelings. This is known as suppression. The common expression of ‘smiling on the outside but crying inside’ is a good example of how one might use this strategy. It should come as no surprise that suppressing negative emotions is correlated to decreased self-esteem and greater anxiety. Indeed, suppression is not the best emotion regulation strategy. Instead of helping us overcome those negative emotions, it will cause us to feel even more negative with all these emotions pent up within us. How then can we regulate negative emotions? There are two other strategies that we propose using. First, a temporary measure would be to distract ourselves.
DISTRACTIONDistraction refers to keeping our mind occupied with thoughts other than those negative ones. A lot of times this strategy is used as a temporary break to consolidate thoughts before moving forward, but it can also be used as an escape route to avoid confronting a situation. Distraction itself is not a bad regulation strategy, but how we use it is key. There are 3 strategies for distraction to be effective.
1. STOPGive yourself a break from the situation. This is an important step to make sure that you do not get overwhelmed with the situation.
2. SCHEDULESet aside a time for yourself to think about the situation. Other than the allotted time, do not ruminate and worry about the situation.
3. SCRIBEWrite down your worries and concerns. You’ll be surprised to find that writing your worries down helps to alleviate your worries in your mind. These 3 strategies used together can help you to take a pause and move forward better, instead of just running from the problem. The best solution that we recommend would be to reappraise the situation by looking at it differently.
REAPPRAISALThe last commonly used emotion regulation strategy is reappraisal. If we give a different meaning to an event, a different emotion and action follow. According to the ABC model popularised by Martin Seligman, our beliefs (B) interpret an activating event (A), resulting in consequent emotions and actions (C). Hence, A -> B -> C. Most of the time we only see the cause (the activating event) and the effect (our consequent emotions), and we fail to see the important link, which is our beliefs. Reappraising an event is changing our beliefs to bring about a different meaning to the event. This ultimately influences our emotions and actions taken. Below is a simple some ways to reappraise an event:
1. EVIDENCEWhat proof do we have that our thinking is right?
2. ALTERNATIVESWhat is another way of thinking?
3. IMPLICATIONSWhat does your thinking imply?
4. USEFULNESSIs it useful to think this way? Reappraisal is also known as disputing. Check out our blog on Resilience for more about this.
FIX, NOT BREAKPositive psychologist Martin Seligman once said that “life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better”. Everyone would have met with setbacks and troubles in their lives, but what set asides the optimist from the pessimist is their mindset and consequently the way they handle their emotions. Instead of relying on breaking and smashing things to release our pent-up emotions, we can instead choose to handle our emotions at an earlier stage. While distraction is only a temporary measure, when used in the right way it can help us better recollect our thoughts and regulate our emotions. This can prevent us from getting too overwhelmed by any situation and helps us to calmly think through our next step. Reappraisal is however the best strategy to handling negative thoughts and emotions. Many times, we do not know the innate reason for our negative feelings. By identifying the beliefs that cause us to feel negatively and choosing to relook at the problems we face using a different mindset and attitude, our emotions will also change to be more positive. Then we might just be able to look at our troubles with a smile instead of a frown.
WHY IS SINGAPORE NOT HAPPIER?
- GDP per capita
- Healthy life expectancy
- Perception of integrity in society
- Freedom to make life’s choices
- Social support
|Factor||Happiness||Factor 1: GDP per Capita||Factor 2: Healthy Life Expectancy||Factor 3: Perception of Integrity in Society||Factor 4: Freedom to Make Life’s Choices||Factor 5: Social Support||Factor 6: Generosity|
|2020 Ranking (out of 153 countries)||31st||2nd||1st||1st||14th||37th||57th|
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