7 Ways Happiness can Foster Courage in Uncertain Times

If you didn’t see our recent update, our #HRDudeLennon has moved on to new adventures as the Executive Vice President of Mischief and Mayhem at a new organization (translation: My daughter moved out, and her cat went with her – this is all positive, btw. 😊 )

When this happens in organizations, it’s pretty common for the workload to land on the desks of people who were probably already super busy AND are now dealing with the emotional impact of change. Even if they’re glad the person is gone (and let’s be honest, that’s a real situation many times), it’s still change, and we, as humans (and, based on the behaviours of the four-legged staff in our home, our animals as well) don’t love change. There are ways we can foster and nurture hope during uncertain times. Perhaps one of these will help you.

  1. Accept the challenge for what it is If you’ve been hit broadside with a difficulty that’s left you negative, the worst thing you can do is try to ignore that it’s there. By acknowledging the problem, you can deal with it head-on and find a solution. Emotions are real. Start by asking yourself if the issue is something you can change. If so, then it’s time to make a game plan. If not? Then learn how to live with the new status quo, rather than wasting time and energy fighting it.
  2. Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience By seeking out the lessons to be learned, you can calmly face the problem. Discover what you can about the situation, learn and then move on. By the way – #LessonsLearned can be POSITIVE – it’s not always “stuff to avoid next time”.
  3. Revisit the past You’ve been through tough times before. Think back to them to remind yourself that challenges don’t last forever. Hope springs up from the knowledge that you’ve gotten through problems before. This is one of the real bedrock pieces of (that buzzword we’re all starting to hate because it’s used in such toxic ways!!!!) #resilience.
  4. Record the experience Blogging, journaling, or recording what’s going on helps you to process the experience and find creative solutions. When we get things out of our head, we’re able to deal with problems logically rather than emotionally. Looking back at this record becomes a powerful experience of your progress, which offers hope.
  5. Laugh Even if you don’t feel like it initially, the act of laughing changes moods. Hopelessness doesn’t stand a chance against a good belly laugh. The fun thing about laughter is, once you start, it’s hard to stop. You can even fake it till you make it with laughter. It will lighten your mood and help you see solutions that weren’t there before. (Hit me up if you want some resources around laughter. I’m a certified Laughter Yoga Leader and so is my spouse. We SOOOO have you covered here!)
  6. Choose Happiness What?! It’s a choice?! Yes, friends. Happiness is a lifestyle, and we can choose to find it even in the weird spaces. Much of our life can be performing ‘shoulds’ if we let it. In this case, ask yourself if doing the ‘right thing’ means doing the thing that’s best for you? As long as it won’t hurt others, make the choice that will create happiness in your life.
  7. Build a support group. Humans were never designed to live in solitary isolation. Trying to manage tough times alone is a sure recipe for fostering hopelessness. Gather people around you who make you feel hopeful just by being with them. By spending time with positive people, their hopefulness will quickly become your own.


Sarah Ratekin
Sarah Ratekin
Sarah Ratekin, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness Is Courage Inc., translates the science of happiness and well-being into actionable plans that get radically positive results. An enthusiastic positivity activist, speaker, author, and researcher, she believes we can change the world for the better by being positive, grateful, and kind, and she’s often quoted as saying “Happiness is a gauge, not a goal”. Her current focus is on helping organizations and teams navigate the particularly complex reality of today’s stressors and engagement challenges by nurturing healthier workplace cultures. No stranger to weird working environments, she believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their strengths, find joy in their profession, and engage in the pursuit of happiness in the workplace and beyond. Sarah has a veritable army of garden gnomes keeping watch over her extensive container gardens and is the proud mother of four amazing humans who are making their positive own marks on the world. She and her spouse Kris, both certified Laughter Yoga leaders, also travel extensively bringing the joy and power of laughter and positivity with organizations of all sizes and industries. In their downtime, they enjoy exploring the outdoors (usually by kayak), dancing, and general merry adventuring. Sarah and her family currently reside in Indiana and travel as often as humanly possible.

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