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Get Back to Happy

6 tips for regaining your happiness after a setback.
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6. Be Flexible. continued...

For example, suppose you lose your job -- but you know the exact job you want next. While on the hunt, you get another job offer -- but it falls short of your dream job, so you don't take it. In being inflexible, you missed a source of income and may have slammed a door that could have led to other opportunities.

"Just knowing you can be more flexible is half the battle," says George Bonanno,PhD,professor and chair of Columbia University's counseling and clinical psychology department and author of The Other Side of Sadness." You can reorient yourself during a crisis and change course as things change. You can say: "OK, I can handle this. What do I need to do now?'"

How to Solve Problems Like the Best

Step back with a cool head and do a little detective work to see if you could handle your setback better.

Charles Figley, PhD, distinguished chair in disaster mental health at Tulane University, suggests asking yourself these questions:

1. What happened?
2. Why did it happen?
3. Why did I act like I did when it happened?
4. Why have I acted the way I have since then?
5. What if something like this happens again?
 
By answering those questions, "you get the benefit of self-knowledge and self-feedback," Figley says. "But the main thing is to get what is inside out."

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Reviewed on July 02, 2010

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