How to make your post-pandemic happiness last
The end of the pandemic – and the resumption of all our germinal behaviors – is a change of situation, of course. Thus, the resulting feelings of happiness will disappear. But if you use this change in circumstances as an opportunity to start a new business, you may be able to give your happiness a longer tail. In addition, well-being often follows a targeted activity. In this same article, Drs. Sheldon and Lyubomirsky write, “Our data suggests that effort and hard work offer the most promising path to happiness.” Maybe it’s time to finally sign up for a 5K or take that ceramic class.
Establish new habits. The end of the pandemic could be the perfect time to establish new mental patterns. “Transitions are a way to reinvent yourself,” says Dr. Lyubomirsky. Read anything about habit forming and you will find that changing habits follow the progression of “signal / trigger → behaviors → reward / outcome”. These signals can often be physical spaces. Maybe that’s why you’ve always found yourself swallowing handfuls of M & M’s after lunch at the office but not at home. Well, in the case of something like the office (but also the gym), it is possible that you have been away for so long that the triggers of previous behaviors have lost their power. Which gives you the ability to relate these signals to new habits.
Be grateful.. I know. At this point, the chorus of people speaking of gratitude has reached a level of annoyance previously only reached by people who meditate, run marathons, or eat vegans. But there’s a reason for it: Time and time again, it’s proven to be extremely effective in improving your subjective sense of well-being.
“Psychological research has shown that translating thoughts into concrete language (that is, words, whether spoken or written) has advantages over simple thinking of thoughts,” says Dr. Robert Emmons , professor of psychology at UC Davis, whose work focuses on Recognition. “It makes them more real, more concrete, helps to develop them. It helps us not to take the benefits for granted. It shifts our awareness to those gifts all around us that we ignore because our minds are chronically ready to notice the negative.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to start a gratitude journal. Take it from Lyubomirsky, who tells the theme of his book, The how of happiness, is to find happiness practices that match your personality and that make you feel good.
“I don’t count my blessings, I don’t keep a gratitude journal,” she said. “I think these are incredibly hokey and mundane things, even though a lot of people swear by them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t practice gratitude.
Dr. Lyubomirsky simply suggests verbally noting, whenever you are in a social setting, how great it is to be able to be with people again – whether at work or inside a restaurant. Is it a bit out of date? Sure. But the same goes for anything serious, and the point here is to make you realize how new the situation is, instead of letting it go back to normal. Says Dr. Lyubomirsky: “That’s basically what appreciation is, it’s an awareness of gratitude.”
Don’t take life for granted. Dr Emmons says that one of the reasons we have a hard time feeling grateful is that “we reduce it to feeling good after something good has happened.” It depends on a success, a victory or an advantage. Emmons wants your gratitude to be proactive rather than reactive, unconditional rather than conditional. How? ‘Or’ What? By affirming and acknowledging things in our life that we take for granted.
A technique called the “George Bailey effect” – after the It’s a wonderful life The protagonist, who is suicidal until a Guardian Angel shows him all the blessings in his life, involves considering the person, the circumstances, and the routine pleasures you forget. Ask yourself what it would be like if you didn’t have your partner, your job, or your health – or what it would be like if you had to go back to a full-scale foreclosure?