vital.de: You begin with happiness psychology. How do you define happiness?
Bea Engelmann: For millennia, neither philosophers nor poets and thinkers have succeeded in finding a universal definition of happiness. Happiness is a very nice feeling and something very individual. Therefore, it is important that we deal with our happiness and take the time to know what exactly makes us happy and what makes us happy.
For me personally, happiness is a special form of self-confidence – in the sense of “being aware of oneself”. It is the result of a decision and an inner process: How positive am I about my life? I love the quote by Nicolas Chamfort “It is difficult to find happiness within ourselves, and it is quite impossible to find it anywhere else.”
I distinguish between being lucky and being happy. We have little or no influence on being lucky, it’s different when it comes to being happy, because here we can contribute something ourselves with the help of alleged lucky strategies. Happiness is divided into happy moments in the second and as a feeling of life and contentment. Feeling at home in my life means happiness to me.
To what extent can happiness psychology help to overcome heavy loss and grief?
Happiness psychology supports people in leading a good life. In addition to focusing on our strengths and positive thoughts, it is about increasing the good and good feelings in life.
In my workshops I tell the participants about the six basic emotions: sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, anger and happiness. I explain to them that all feelings have their justification and that they want and are allowed to be lived. I get people to deal with their feelings.
Regarding grief and loss, it is important for me to emphasize that there are such losses in every life and we can learn to deal with them. It’s about acceptance and consequently about empathy with ourselves. It’s not about overcoming losses as quickly as possible, but about honestly dealing with yourself and your grief. It’s a process…
How can I allow happiness and joy back into my life despite a heavy loss?
Everything has its time – I think it’s important to allow yourself to mourn this loss and to allow the feelings that come with it. It is certainly helpful to think that feelings can coexist.
A wonderful strategy for happiness is gratitude. What loving memories do I have of the person? Why is it nice to have walked part of the way together? What experiences am I grateful for? How did this person make my life a little better? That’s what I would focus on.
In general, is a happier person better able to cope with loss than an unhappier person?
I wouldn’t put it that way. It’s about resilience, also known as the stand-up man mentality, i.e. the ability to have inner strength. People who have a high degree of resilience can use certain strategies to deal more easily with very stressful living conditions, loss and one. Because happier people are generally more resilient, they are more likely to have so-called coping strategies (coping strategies) with which they can better process a loss.
When do you think it is necessary to seek professional help to process the loss and grief?
I believe that everyone should listen to themselves here. Nobody has to “do it” alone – it is a very drastic experience where the support of a psychologist or coach can be so helpful and relieving. I would like it to be a matter of course to seek help when we are mentally unwell – and when we lose a loved one it is extremely stressful. I recommend everyone not to wait long to get help.