Happiness During the Pandemic

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Happiness During the Pandemic

By Jan Larraine Cox

What could possibly go right now?  

Restricted at home, we can still do a kindness for others and for ourselves. We can enlarge ourselves and be the change we seek right now! 

In the midst of so many kinds of tremendous suffering this year in our country and in the world, it is still possible to achieve a sense of well-being and contentment through resilience. Concentrate on your health and persevere! 

How can I find happiness?

Prioritize your time, even while sheltering, and don’t let the pandemic knock you off course. Know why you choose what to do with your time now. Be aware that isolation activates pain centers in your brain, with the equivalence of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so find ways to connect with others even while sheltering. 

Happiness can be hard to come by in times like these.
Happiness can be hard to come by in times like these.

To be optimistic and take chances engenders even more positive emotion. What activities give you pleasure and make your feel good? To turn the negative pandemic isolation into a positive can provide true contentment for you and others. When was the last time you did that? 

Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman suggests calling someone who provided a turning point for your life and let them know exactly what they did and what it meant to you. Usually this would be done in person but in our current situation, a phone call and follow up letter that spells out what they meant would still be effective. 

Living in the moment often occurs when we are engaged in fulfilling work and interesting hobbies. We lose track of time and go with the flow. Ask yourself now, what are you talented at doing? If you concentrate on writing or playing your music, for example, or learning a new language during sheltering, this can be the first step toward becoming fully engaged. 

Practicing or playing music can be a huge relief for anyone feeling in need of happiness during quarantine.
Practicing or playing music can be a huge relief for anyone feeling in need of happiness during quarantine.

In your social connections, which individual would you like to feel more connected with? What action can you take to achieve this connection? Who do you know who truly cares about you with whom you can connect by email, Facetime or an old-fashioned phone call? They are probably craving more meaningful connections now, too. 

A key concept in Okinawa is ikigai which means, “why I wake up in the morning”.  It’s a sense of direction. With a sense of purpose, a sense of direction what did I do today that is valuable and worthwhile? In this way, we are turning a crisis into an opportunity. 

All these steps can lead to achievements and accomplishments which provide a sense of pride in oneself.  

Taking steps towards your own happiness can start by paying to forward to others.
Taking steps towards your own happiness can start by paying to forward to others.

Let us each say, “One of my character strengths is manifested when I…” or, “What important goal did I accomplish this year even in the midst of the pandemic; what are the steps I took to achieve it?” 

Now is the hour not only to know your strengths better, but also the opportunity to recraft your life. Reach out to others; your positivity will possibly resound with them these days while we are all on this journey together—you may even help someone get through the pandemic. 

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