Hello my dear happiness nerds, welcome back!
Loyal readers will have noticed that my publishing frequency has dropped to once per month. This is due to work and it will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future. I had a mini-series on mantras in the pipeline, but I’m delaying it due to the more pressing topics during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of you may be tired of reading about this topic all the time, so I thought I’d resort to a tried and trusted method of slicing up content for the exhausted masses: A list (and a corny, clickbaity title to match it).
Without further ado, please enjoy this list of four insights to help you increase happiness during the Covid-19 pandemic:
#1: Now is not the time to fix your relationships
… but protect and savor them. I know it’s tempting to finally have that talk you’ve been postponing to the time when you both would finally have nothing else to do, but don’t go there. It’s a crisis, life is even harder than usual, and, therefore, we should practice even more (self-)compassion than usual. Like during a zombie apocalypse, we should be grateful for every survivor in our party and just try to get through this alive.
#2: Now is the best time to start meditating
… because of so many reasons: Can’t leave the house, bored, stressed, anxious, and tired of content and screens? Meditation helps with all of these! You can do it anywhere, it is genuinely interesting, it helps with negative emotions, and it cleans your mental palate. From my own experience, the journey inward is often more fascinating than a journey to a foreign country. Because it’s a land you haven’t even heard of and you don’t know what to expect. I recommend the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. It has great free content and you can unlock all the premium content for free if you just write Sam and tell him you can’t afford a subscription (please don’t abuse this option, though).
#3: Don’t try to be productive
… because nobody really is in times like these. We all have to adapt to this new situation and we should grant ourselves the time it takes to do that. What’s up with the obsession with productivity anyways? Don’t get me wrong: If you have a job, do it and do it the best you reasonably can. But life is about so much more than work and productivity. Actually enjoy your free time! You don’t gain anything by being instagrammably “productive” or “awesome” in your free time – now more than ever. We’re all going to die and nobody will remember the seemingly enviable projects or activities we pursued (which were pretty petty in the bigger picture anyways). This might sound morbid and depressing, but I think it can be quite liberating and fulfilling. If today was your last day on this earth, how would you enjoy and savor it? A sip of cool, fresh water, a genuine conversation with a friend, a walk in nature (if that’s possible in your area right now). It doesn’t take more than this, if you’re fully there (#2 helps with that, btw).
#4: Be grateful
… because no matter who you are: You can. And it’s one of the most sure-fire ways to happiness. The pandemic has taken a lot from us. For many, the best case is that they “only” have to self-quarantine, which already means temporarily being stripped of important freedoms. Others have lost their jobs and may fear for their existence. Again others have lost loved ones and probably couldn’t say good bye or attend their funerals. Once more, we must be especially self-compassionate in times of loss like these. Yet, all of us have so much more to be grateful for than to mourn after. That our bodies work as well as they do. Even with (chronic) illness: It could be so much worse. That we know the people we do. That we have one more breath in this miraculous and deeply fascinating existence of ours. As Epicurus has put so perfectly in one of my favorite quotes of all time: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.”
Much love to all of you, stay safe, and spread happiness
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