9 Ways To Improve Your Quarantine Well-Being

9 Ways To Improve Your Quarantine Well-Being

via Forbes by Aline Holzwarth

Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 viral disease, you may be feeling down as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There are many solutions out there to help lift your spirits, but not all are backed by research in behavioral science, nor specifically by evidence from the study of happiness and well-being. However, Professor Laurie Santos at Yale University has synthesized the science of well-being into a course for students at Yale, a course for students on Coursera, and has most recently transformed her work into a digital health program on Pattern Health (where I am Head of Behavioral Science) that can be licensed by employers to provide to their employees.

The recommendations that stem from the science of well-being are useful in normal times, but essential in coronavirus times, where the collective hit to well-being is being felt across the globe. There are 9 major insights that can be taken from Santos’ Science of Well-Being program, which I present here to help improve your quarantine well-being. They are: practice your signature strengths, savor life, be grateful, be kind, stay socially connected while physically distanced, exercise regularly, sleep well, meditate, and feel rich with time. 

1. Practice Your Signature Strengths

The concept behind practicing your signature strengths is simple. (What are you good at? Do more of that.) The VIA Institute on Character has developed its list of 24 “signature strengths,” which you can sift through to determine which you exhibit most strongly. Once you figure out what your signature strengths are (pick 3 or 4), all you need to do is practice those strengths. This can be as simple as noticing when you are using them already. Say, for example, one of your signature strengths is “humor.” Give yourself a pat on the back the next time you make light of a difficult situation. Or go a step further and put some energy into expressing your humor in new ways. A meta-analysis by Nicola Schutte and John Malouff on the positive psychology interventions pioneered by Martin Seligman shows that using your signature strengths in new ways can reduce depression and increase life satisfaction. 

2. Savor Life

Now that you’re confined to your home, it is more convenient than ever to stop and smell the roses. This sort of slow appreciation of experiences makes us value things more highly, which in turn leads to an increase in happiness. Laurie Santos recommends employing techniques to enhance your savoring, including “sharing the experience with another person, thinking about how lucky you are to enjoy an amazing moment, keeping a souvenir or photo of that activity, and making sure you stay in the present moment the entire time.” So the next time you whip up that Dalgona coffee, sit with it as you savor one delectable spoonful at a time. Today In: Leadership Strategy

3. Be Grateful

Gratitude is one of those evergreen happiness-boosting strategies. You can give thanks for what you have, and not just at Thanksgiving. Saying grace at dinner each day is one way of integrating this behavior into your routine to make it a habit, but you don’t have to be religious to express gratitude. In my house, we have a daily secular ritual before dinner where my husband and I share our “gratefuls,” a mental list of the things we feel like appreciating at that moment. We each share the things that we are grateful for that day before we start eating, and we often are surprised at how lucky we find ourselves to be. This counting of “blessings” is shown to increase well-being. This is partially because our normal tendency is to get used to any situation, so the joy of owning a new bike, for example, diminishes over time (a phenomenon that researchers call hedonic adaptation), and the act of thinking through our many fortunes helps us re-appreciate the many things we are inclined to take for granted…

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#happiness #positivepsychology #wellbeing #covid19 #coronavirus #isolation