With the outbreak of COVID-19, “lockdown, uncertainty and social distancing” are becoming the default mode for most of us as individuals globally recalibrate to navigate these uncertain times. The much-desired WFH that is now being offered almost compulsively offers little respite since most of us are not used to this newly enforced lifestyle.
Man is a social animal and therefore can it remain happy in times of isolation? Does happiness necessarily involve being close to people? Does happiness and its meaning change if our environment changes? What can we do to be happy in times of social distancing?
According to different researches, there are as many definitions of happiness as many researchers are there. Kenneth Benjamin, Founder of Happiness International, says, “Happiness is when your life fulfils your needs.” Martin Seligman, in his book Authentic Happiness, says, “Happiness, H = S+C+V, that is, happiness is a sum of a person’s generic capacity to be happy (S), Life Circumstances (C) and Voluntary Control (V). “
Happiness (or lack of it) is omnipresent. A lot depends upon our mental construct and how we perceive it. For some of us it is in the present moment, for others it is an enduring experience. For some of us, it is about reliving experiences of the past and for some of us it is about imagining the future. For some of us it is an outcome, while for a few others, it is part of the process. For some of us, it’s about spending time alone, while for others, it’s about being with people who matter!
Here’s how to find happiness amid times of social distancing:
1. Use Technology: Whether we prefer solitude or we prefer to live in the company of people, technology can be a great enabler for times like these. If you are a people’s person, use technology, do video calls with people who you care about and stay virtually connected! Have a coffee or a drink together over a video call. The experience may not be exactly the same, but it’s quite closer!
2. Re-visit Old Hobbies: We all have hobbies which got somewhere lost in the daily grind of life. Revisit some of our old hobbies like playing an instrument, reading books, bird watching or simply anything! Picking up your old hobbies will provide much needed escape from pessimism that’s all over.
3. Be Innovative: Just because we are advised to be in confinement and isolation doesn’t mean we compound this experience with a flavour of sadness. People around the world are innovating the way they cook, the way they do lectures, the way classes are held, the way they relax and so on. Maybe it’s time you decide what you can innovate—maybe your next meeting or your next morning meditation practise and share it online.
4. Pick up a New Skill: Pick up a new skill, a new language, a course that can sharpen your existing knowledge or can start your journey into something totally new. Attending an online course will not only occupy your mind, sharpen your skill-sets but will also keep you away from the unhappiness that stems from nothingness.
5. Follow Gratitude: No one chooses to be in the times we are currently in, however, despite all the bad situations the world over, follow an attitude of gratitude. There is always something in our lives that we can be thankful for—the fact that we are reading this, the fact we are breathing and healthy, the fact that we can spend this time with our family and so on. Gratitude polarises our mind towards the positive things, thus removing unwanted unhappiness.