What Katniss Everdeen Can Teach You About Happiness

“The Hunger Games” reacquaints us with an admirable female hero: Katniss Everdeen.Although this best-selling book and major motion picture portrays a dystopian future filled with tyranny and young people forced into savage competition, there is nonetheless a positive role model to be found in Katniss Everdeen. Indeed, having a role model, even a fictional one, gives us an example to follow and helps us to improve.QUIZ: How Does Your Happiness Measure Up?This person need not be perfect, but she ought to embody many virtues that are worth striving for. Let’s examine the qualities that make Katniss a good role model and consider how aiming to embody them can improve our everyday lives.RESILIENCYKatniss did not have an easy childhood. She was born into an oppressive world filled with starvation and her father died in a sudden mining accident. Nevertheless, Katniss still managed to carry on with her life and make the best of things. We should all expect to go through difficult times at one point or another. When things get hard, it’s important to stand tough and not give up. Although it might be nearly impossible to imagine, the financial or relationship problems that cause so much suffering today will eventually get better in the future.How to be more resilient: During trying times, use positive emotions to undo the effects of negative ones. Feel the comfort and joy of watching your favorite movie to counter feelings of depression or anxiety. Make an effort to spend a lot of time around funny and exciting people to deal with stress and dread. This strategy will help you endure the hard times until things get better.MORE: Think Positively to Be HealthierSELF-RELIANCEThe ability to hunt game and gather edible and medicinal plants made Katniss more than capable of caring for herself. She also taught herself how to trade and bargain with others for maximum profit. To be sure, we’re more likely to feel comfortable being alone if we know we can handle our basic needs.How to be more self-reliant: Identify and cultivate your strengths to become self-sufficient in a few important areas of your life, such as maintaining a functional home, cooking or furthering your career. Although you may not be an expert in everything, you’ll be glad that you are competent in a few key domains.SELF-SACRIFICEKatniss devoted herself to caring for her mother and younger sister by providing them food and protection. When her sister was chosen to compete in the deadly Hunger Games, Katniss immediately volunteered to take her place. Although it’s tempting to focus on what’s best for us, true happiness often results from turning our attention toward the needs of others.How to be more self-sacrificing: If you feel as if you are already sacrificing so much for others, rest assured that this is one of the most powerful demonstrations of love that you can show. Even if your efforts are going unrecognized by your family or friends, know that your sacrifice is noble and far beyond what most people are willing to do. If you would like to make self-sacrifice a bigger part of your life, focus on someone you care for and put his or her needs first. Observe the unique joy that comes with missing your favorite television show to call a lonely friend. This is a path toward happiness that few dare to walk, but the rewards speak for themselves.COLUMN: There is No “ME” in the Word RELATIONSHIPEach day presents its own challenges and we may not always feel as if we are living up to our full potential. Having a role model that embodies virtues such as resiliency, self-reliance and self-sacrifice helps us to stay on track and continue striving for a life worth living. In addition to many other real and fictional women, Katniss Everdeen is a source of inspiration to all people who wish to improve while simultaneously loving themselves just the way they are.By the way, although you may admire Katniss’ lethal skill using a bow and arrow, only use such problem-solving tactics as a last resort, even while dealing with obnoxious co-workers!

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