Finding Joy and Resilience During Stay-at-Home Times – Positive psychology offers lessons for making the most of the COVID-19 period.

Finding Joy and Resilience During Stay-at-Home Times – Positive psychology offers lessons for making the most of the COVID-19 period.

via Psychology Today by Allen R McConnell

With many Americans continuing to shelter at home during the COVID-19 global pandemic, people are finding adaptation to limited travel and fewer activities stifling. Although many individuals (e.g., health care providers, grocery store employees, parents caring for children at home) are finding work responsibilities to be incredibly consuming, others complain about having too much time on their hands.

As a professor who is teaching a class on the health benefits of positive psychology this semester, I have found the science covered in our readings to offer useful lessons in this moment. In reflecting on the course, I wanted to provide some suggestions to help us make the most out of stay-at-home conditions.

Embrace time affluence

Many people have suddenly found themselves with a lot more time on their hands than they want because of constraints on travel and social opportunities. COVID-19 has brought an end to many people’s normal leisure time activities (e.g., date nights with movies and dinners in quaint restaurants, attending concerts and plays, watching sports on television), leaving many people feeling lost without once-packed calendars dictating their fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyles.

Although many people bristle at having extra time on their hands and feel that being-on-the-go is a desirable outcome and reflects the importance of their daily lives, research shows that time affluence (i.e., feeling that time is not scarce) is a boon for experiencing happiness. It’s not uncommon to witness people eating dinner in their living rooms while watching television and at the same time checking social media on their phones, but ironically, feeling that every moment of one’s day is highly valued is counterproductive to experiencing happiness.

This feeling of not having spare time leads people to feel stressed (i.e., “I have so much to do today!”), and often they try to make more money or devote more energy to work (e.g., taking an extra job to pay for a summer vacation to relieve theirĀ work-related stress) rather than pursuing more beneficial activities that actually promote well-being such as socializing (Mogilner, 2010). Further, valuing money over time predicts lower levels of happiness (Whillans et al., 2016). Thus, feeling overwhelmed by rat-race lives not only harms people’s health, but it often takes them away from meaningful outlets (e.g., social connection, physical activities) that reduce stress and enhance personalĀ resilience

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#happiness #positivepsychology #resilience #positivity