How to find happiness after a pandemic?

Happiness

2020 has been quite a year. It has disrupted life as we know it. I think it is fair to say that every single person has been impacted by The Corona Virus in some way or another. Many precious lives lost, many jobs and small business are no longer and we as moms are living in burnout. The world is a very different place.

So how do we start to pick up the pieces? How do we start again and gain some sort of normal? Do we live in limbo waiting anxiously for a vaccine? There is no perfect answer but there are strategies we can put in place to focus and prioritize our happiness.

Our first happiness sin

According to Raj Raghunathan from the Indian School of Business is de-valuing happiness. There are many ways we do this. Think about a sale at a shop you really like. An item is dramatically reduced but a similar item is full price. Generally, we will pick the sale item just because we will save money, rather than choosing the item we want.

The same scenario can happen at a Restaurant. After hearing those specials of the day, we might change our mind from something we prefer eating because of the ‘special price’. Now, these small choices might not make a huge difference in our lives but when you use this tactic in choosing a career or life partner, this can completely affect our long-term happiness.

Happiness and fulfilling relationships were picked as the top 2 life goals in a series of surveys done recently. Yet when we ask people the genie question (if you had a magical genie in front of you and asked you for your three wishes) most people wished for money, status and relationships. This shows us how often we forget to prioritize our happiness.

So why do we de-value happiness?

There are a couple of reasons. Sometimes we can hold negative beliefs about happiness. For instance, if your belief that ‘unhealthy food ‘is tastier, you will find it harder to enjoy these ‘healthier ‘foods.

Others feel that being happy will lead to being lazy, but the research says otherwise.  According to phys.org happy workers are 13% more productive. In studies from the Queens school of Business, disengaged workers had higher absentee rate, 18 % lower productivity rates and lower job growth overall. With these kinds of numbers, it would make sense for more companies to be focusing on employee happiness.

Some People believe that being happy will lead to becoming more selfish. Quora.com sums it up perfectly “happiness does not make you selfish. Denying others of their happiness in order to have yours is a selfish act. True happiness comes from love, and real love is never selfish.

Another way we fail to see the value in happiness is in our lack of clarity. If we do not even know what our definition of happiness is, how can we strive for it. Instead we follow the very old-fashioned muscular approach of medium maximisation. Quite often that medium is money.

So, what is the first step in finding happiness after a pandemic? It is defining what happiness is to you. Once you figure that out, learn to prioritize these things.

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