It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the unofficial end of the summer. Like the five seasons that came before it, the summer of 2021 seems lost to the pandemic.
It’s made me feel a little more reflective than usual. So if you’ll indulge me, this edition of Healthier Talk is going to be just a bit different.
If you’re anything like me, as spring rolled around, you began to feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders. You could finally see the end of this long hard road we’ve all be traveling on.
Maybe you even allowed yourself to start making post-pandemic summer plans. And like many, you might have thought the worst was behind us. But with the devastating arrival of Delta and breakthrough cases, those hopes were shattered.
Each of us has our own personal pandemic story to tell. Perhaps yours includes milestones missed, loved ones lost, or major changes you’re still trying to adjust to.
Mine includes those losses and adjustments too. And I want to assure you it’s perfectly normal to feel depressed, frustrated, and yes, to be honest, even downright angry at times. Because we’re only human, and we’ve all been robbed of something precious in one way or another by this coronavirus.
It’s these feelings that are no doubt at the heart of the flaring tempers and loss of civility we witness every time we turn on the news or look at social media these days. Insults and threats are being tossed about with wild abandon.
But here’s the thing. Now, more than ever before, we must remember that regardless of our political leanings or feelings about vaccinations or masks, we’re all still stuck in the thick of this pandemic TOGETHER.
Choosing happiness despite the coronavirus
As I see it, we have two choices.
We can listen to each other with openness and respect even when we disagree. No, let’s make that ESPECIALLY when we disagree.
I can firmly believe in the need to vaccinate, and you can still have serious reservations, for example, without it becoming a knock-down-drag-out fight. After all, differences don’t have to devolve into mudslinging and hate if we don’t let them.
And then we can do our best to make ALL of our lives a bit happier and more livable during this ongoing crisis.
Or the alternative is to shut ourselves off. Choosing instead to lash out in anger, making ourselves and everyone else we come into contact with miserable, hurt, and angry too.
I’m firmly committing to the former starting right now. I hope you choose to join me.
2 “Choose Joy” lessons to weather the pandemic
To get things started off on the right foot, I want to share two of my favorite “Choose Joy” life lessons today.
Hopefully, they can help you find… and spread… more happiness even during these dark days of the pandemic.
Don’t sweat the small stuff:
We’re all feeling a little rough around the edges right now. Our emotions are bubbling up closer to the surface than ever before. And with our new hair-trigger tempers, we can go from zero to outburst in mere moments.
A lot of that has to do with control. Or lack of it, to be more precise. Because we’ve had very little control over our own lives in the last 18 months or so. The coronavirus pandemic came in like a wrecking ball and stole that power from us. But there IS something we CAN control. And that’s our own reactions.
The moment you choose to stop taking everything personally—to quit sweating the small stuff—something funny happens. It all becomes small stuff. Peace and calm return and happiness is right on their heels.
And talk about side benefits. Driving away the gloom and replacing it with happiness could literally save your life. Research has found a bad attitude can literally send your heart attack risk soaring.
Focus on the good stuff:
Our lives are always going to be a mixed bag of good and bad. The pandemic has given us all more than our fair share of the bad for the past year and a half.
But we can choose to cut off the oxygen to the bad things. When we refuse to let them dominate our thinking, it leaves the space open to fertilize the good stuff so IT can flourish instead.
So go ahead and seek out the good things that bring you happiness. Maybe it’s sharing a favorite pastime with a grandchild or savoring a bowl of your favorite ice cream. Regardless of what it is, if it brings you joy, nurture it and be sure to share it with others when you can.
Remember, this too shall end. The pandemic will not last forever, even if it feels like it sometimes. So while we’re waiting, we can choose to cultivate joy and smother hate.