20 Mar Happiness in the Time of Coronavirus
Today is International Day of Happiness. It may seem strange to focus on happiness in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when our livelihoods and physical and mental health are at risk. Yet perhaps this is the perfect time to take a closer look at happiness.
What happens to happiness during times like this? Is it possible to remain happy right now? Regardless of coronavirus – don’t we all still strive to be happy every day?
The search for happiness
When I work with organisations and ask people what makes them happy, many tell me about the day they bought their house, had their first child, fell in love, had a holiday, read a great book, got a pay rise, went for a run in the park. If I asked my husband this question, he’d say it was when I bought him a drone! At this moment, many people are likely to say they’re happy when they are healthy, have a schedule full of work and money in the bank. I call these examples ‘worldly causes of happiness’.
From a very early age we learn to associate getting something or doing something that we want with feeling happy. But what happens after an hour or a week or a month? Although we still have what we desired – a new relationship, a better car, the experience of learning a new hobby – that warm, fuzzy, happy feeling has gone. We find that it was transitory, fleeting. And yet, we don’t question why it’s gone or how we might find a more permanent way of bringing happiness into our lives.
Instead, we keep striving for happiness. We try to do more, see more, have more, achieve more so we can experience that happy feeling once more.
But happiness comes, then happiness goes and we have to start all over again.
As coronavirus disrupts our lives in a way we could never have imagined, it may feel like happiness is more elusive than ever. But we needn’t worry. We all have a constant and infinite source of happiness within us – we just need to learn how to tap into it.
Finding your inner happiness
When our lives are busy we often don’t have time to pay attention to how we’re feeling. Now, with many people self-isolating at home, it’s an opportunity to pause, ‘go inwards’ and take time to reflect.
Take a moment to find a quiet space and try it now.
As you listen to your breathing, do you notice how your thoughts, feelings and emotions come and go?
Thoughts create feelings – and our thoughts and feelings are constantly shifting. The more we understand this ebb and flow, the more we discover a ‘deeper sense’ or awareness. It’s like looking up and instead of focusing on the moving clouds, we notice the blue sky in the background. All we need to turn our attention from what’s moving and changing to what’s always present and still. That’s where we’ll find happiness. I call it ‘happiness for no reason’ – because it’s just there.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with ‘worldly causes of happiness’ – those little things, like my husband’s drone, that make us happy. We can enjoy these things even more once we understand that we will always have our inner happiness to sustain us. Limitless and never ending, that happiness is a constant presence, ready for us to tap into it whenever we need it – whatever life decides to throw at us.
* If you’d like more happiness and less stress in your life and work, please get in touch.
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