The answer is neither, according to the research of Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert.

In his popular TED talk, Dan tells us that if it happened over three months ago,  major life traumas have little impact on our happiness.

In fact, his research shows external circumstances predict only 10% of our overall happiness. 

This week we’ve been looking at some of the lessons from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage

One key takeaway: we are much more resilient than we realize. 

Shawn shares research that shows a majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer report an increase in spirituality, compassion for others, and eventually, overall life satisfaction.  


And, following the horrific 2004 train bombings in Madrid, researchers found many residents experienced positive psychological growth. 

Our ability to persevere through trauma in many cases results in a greater sense of our strength and self-confidence as well as an appreciation for people and relationships.

Reflection: In what ways might traumatic life events build strength?

Action: Think about a challenging event from my past, how I processed what happened, and how I feel about it now.

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