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Finding Happiness in Uncomfortable Situations

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Life isn’t always fair.

There are times when it simply sucks.

Just when you think everything is going well and you’re on track to reach your goals, an unexpected obstacle shows up and derails your progress.

Setbacks are inevitable, but how you respond to them can make all the difference between success and failure.

You may find it hard to believe, but facing challenges and difficulties can actually lead to greater happiness.

A review of 225 studies published in the journal Psychological Bulletin found that the happiest people actively seek out new challenges and set fresh goals that bring them long-term positive emotions.

Out of the 275,000 individuals studied, those who embraced adversity were not only happier, but also enjoyed more successful relationships, higher incomes, greater community involvement, and even better overall health.

So what’s the key takeaway here?

Embrace adversity.

While most people try to avoid difficult situations, actively exposing yourself to them can activate the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is known to enhance life satisfaction. Here are some strategies to help you do just that:

1. Dedicate 20 minutes each day to personal development

Choose a topic that fascinates you and make it a habit to learn something new about it every day. With the wealth of free podcasts, videos, and audio books available, this won’t cost you anything except your time.

2. Experience hot or cold temperatures

Whether it’s taking a sauna or an ice bath, commit to spending 10 minutes a few times a week in extreme temperatures, especially when you don’t feel like it. These are the moments when you need it the most, even if it’s just a cold shower.

3. Try foods you dislike

We all have foods we don’t particularly enjoy, but being an adult means making the commitment to eat at least one healthy vegetable you don’t like every day. You can always reward yourself with a chocolate protein shake afterwards to cleanse your palate.

4. Find someone to challenge you

Seek out an expert in your field who can provide you with a challenging workout routine. Brian Mazza, the founder of High Performance Lifestyle Training ( and cover guy for TRAIN magazine, offers weekend events and daily workouts that will push you to your limits and help you embrace discomfort in your fitness journey.

Brian has some wise words about adversity. He explains, “As you continue to grow in your career and personal life, you’ll need a new level of commitment, execution, and focus. You may have to let go of old habits and beliefs that no longer serve you. What worked for you in the past may not work anymore, so be prepared for a new reality.”

According to Brian, the key is to refocus and approach challenges with a renewed determination.

A crucial part of this process is doing things you don’t want to do. Because sometimes, those are the very things that will lead you to where you want to be.

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