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Developing resilience to increase happiness

4 minutes read time Categories: Medical Careers

Understanding Happiness and the role of Resilience

Two doctors smiling

Last year, we partnered with Lysn and their psychologists to provide a free wellbeing webinar series to help doctors with both their personal and professional challenges. If you missed part one of the series, you can read this article here 3 ways doctors can manage Stress and Burnout’.

In the second part of our wellbeing series for doctors, Lysn’s Head of Clinical and renowned trauma psychologist Tahnee Clark, shares her wisdom on how doctors can build a constructive approach to resilience and happiness.

Some people are born happier than others and you can’t change that.

Research has long demonstrated that 50% of happiness is actually genetic. There is a genetic hardwiring within us that makes us more optimistic or grumpy.

Our brains have an individual set point or baseline that indicates our general level of happiness. Some people have a higher baseline than others - meaning some people are genetically happier than others.

This may be a daunting statistic for some and refreshing for others. However, Clark explains that there is a real flip side to this for everyone.

“Only 10% of our happiness is correlated with the things that actually happen to us. That promotion, that house or car - it may temporarily impact you, but we usually return to our normal baseline.”

So, what can we influence? The remaining 40% is influenced by the things you intentionally do on a daily basis.

It really is the little things that count when it comes to happiness - it is not just cliche.

“Taking the time to ask your partner how their day was, engaging in valuable and meaningful conversation or taking 5 minutes to get out in the sunshine, are things that can trigger higher levels of feel-good chemical messengers such as dopamine or oxytocin. These chemicals give us 'feel good' moments and a sense of wellbeing."

Investing in your happiness constantly is the essence of resilience.

We can’t always be happy; we alternate between states of pleasure and displeasure. If humans exist - so do anxieties, depression and stresses. In-between moments of happiness are down-moments that make our happy states relieving and enjoyable.

“Resilience is something that we can all develop. Resilience is the ability to stay strong in the face of adversity. To maintain happiness through life’s ups and downs, we must first learn ways to support our resilience. In stressful moments, focus on nurturing positive relationships, influencing the things you can change and acknowledging the things that you are grateful for.”

‘’These are strategies that you can use day to day to positively influence your sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction. If you are an active participant in your life, you will define yourself by who you are and what you are capable of more than by what has happened to you.”

The mind is very powerful, and we hope these series can help you get through the challenges of life professionally or personally. If you feel you need further help or just someone to talk to, do get in touch with Lysn here.

In part 3 of our wellbeing series for doctors, we learn about the Imposter Syndrome, the feeling of being intellectually fraudulent. Subscribe to the Wave Blog and be first to hear our next articles.