4 Rituals To Keep You Happy All The Time (Pandemic Edition)

4 Rituals To Keep You Happy All The Time (Pandemic Edition)

via Eric Barker

The autopsies would show they had coughed so hard their abdominal muscles had been torn apart.

And some of the bodies had actually turned blue.

From The Great Influenza:

Cyanosis occurs when a victim turns blue because the lungs cannot transfer oxygen into the blood. In 1918 cyanosis was so extreme, turning some victims so dark—the entire body could take on color resembling that of the veins on one’s wrists—it sparked rumors that the disease was not influenza at all, but the Black Death.

At the time, clinicians had no idea what pathogen was capable of causing this.

Like any other rude guest, viruses don’t identify themselves. And frankly, in 1918, medicine was only just starting to hit its stride. It’s safe to say that before 1900, doctors were more likely to kill you than cure you.

From The Great Influenza:

…the 1889 edition of the Merck Manual of Medical Information recommended one hundred treatments for bronchitis, each one with its fervent believers, yet the current editor of the manual recognizes that “none of them worked.” The manual also recommended, among other things, champagne, strychnine, and nitroglycerin for seasickness.

We just hadn’t learned all that much yet. Humans had faced many challenges and many diseases but we just had not learned enough lessons from the past.

And that’s why they called Paul Lewis. He was brought in to solve this mystery. Lewis was the most unlikely of heroes. He was awkward. A military doctor who couldn’t even salute properly. But if he was subpar as a soldier, he was nothing less than a genius in the lab. His work on polio would lead to the vaccine that took that pathogen out of the headlines and into the history books.

But Lewis had his work cut out for him. Whatever this affliction was it was spreading rapaciously. Lewis was one of the greatest medical minds of his generation but he had no idea what this new disease could be. And then he realized the error they had all been making…

This pathogen wasn’t new at all. Paul realized it was mankind’s old enemy: influenza.

Humanity hadn’t learned.

The doctors were distracted by details, misled by its increased infectiousness. They’d lost so much time because they thought this was something altogether different. And that time they lost was so very precious.

From The Great Influenza:

Although the influenza pandemic stretched over two years, perhaps two-thirds of the deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early December 1918. Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century; it killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years.

The pandemic of 1918 killed more people than… well, anything. Ever. A low estimate pegs the deaths at 20 million (with a global population less than a third of today’s) but a more accurate number is somewhere between 50 to 100 million.

And you and I didn’t even hear much about the 1918 pandemic in high school.

And so here we are. Again. (sigh)

We humans have had it good for a while but then suddenly life’s like “you’re behind on your trauma payments” and whammo, we’re collectively standing around slack-jawed wondering if that Mayan calendar was right about the end of the world, just off by a few years.

No, this is not some political tirade or a lecture on the importance of epidemiology. Actually, this is about you and me and your life and my life and all of our lives in this pandemic.

And what we need to learn.

So what have we learned?

Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Months of quarantine lockdown. Doesn’t take AP Math to figure out that with something this big we should each come away with a personal lesson or two, right?

This will likely be the most historically important thing we live through — and it is more than humbling that you can state that with zero exaggeration or irony.

“Never let a crisis go to waste” is the old saying. I don’t mean that in the cynical, political way. I mean it in a life lessons kinda way. If you’ve been waiting for a “sign” to make some changes in your life, to make some decisions about who you are or how you live or what’s important to you, well, this is the time, Bubba.

Hello, this is the front desk. You requested a wake-up call.

How has the pandemic and quarantine impacted you?

What have you learned?

Who do you want to be going forward?

We’re gonna get through this together, you and me. Don’t worry, I brought some sandwiches. Oh, and some good science, as opposed to the fan fiction that passes for research on much of the internet.

We’re gonna figure out what we need to learn from this Matryoshka doll of calamities we’ve been living through. Time to generate some life lessons. Something to help guide us moving forward and maybe even something to bore the grandkids with one day.

Pull up a chair; we’re gonna break it down. Comfy? Good.

Let’s get to it…

“I learned a lesson about gratitude…”

Feeling gratitude during a pandemic might seem downright obscene. We’ve all experienced some Hall-of-Fame-level challenging things recently. (Here in Los Angeles my SoCal life has become “my so-called life.”)

But we’re still here. We’re alive. Gratitude is all about perspective. After a car accident you can be angry your Dodge Dart was totaled or you can choose to be thrilled you’re still alive. Up to you, chief.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Yeah, it’s a cliché but it’s also some 8th Degree Black Belt psychology right there. This morning you read the 600th article about ICU respirators — instead of being on one.

Psychology has validated what Grandmom told us about happiness: count your blessings.

Think about how much epic heinous crap has occurred historically — truly horrible things like World Wars – and then think about how complacent we all were just a few months ago. We’ve spent three decades whining that the internet was slow and so now life is like “I’ll give you something to cry about…”

We took so many lovely things for granted.

Now that the world is reopening, how good does it feel to do some of the stuff you were deprived of during lockdown? In my interview with Harvard professor Mike Norton, he explained that taking a break from something you love and “making it a treat” can boost appreciation and happiness.

We just did a global happiness experiment and didn’t even realize it. Any time bad things happen but they don’t happen to you directly, there’s a reason to feel grateful. (Let me suggest that our not-dead status is a good place to start.)

Your Blessing Manager down in the accounting department hasn’t been doing her job. Start counting. Yes, having good stuff fall from the sky is nice but a much bigger part of happiness is where you choose to put your attention.

So what lesson did you learn about gratitude? What do you appreciate more now that you’ve been living through a pandemic and dealt with quarantine? What are you going to cherish a bit more now that it can’t be taken for granted?

Finish this sentence: “I realized I am so lucky to have…”

And now take a second to smile.

(To learn the most fun way to make your life awesome during the pandemic, click here.)

Okay, lesson number two is a cousin to gratitude but it’s still distinct and it’s something you’re going to want to do deliberately a lot more often…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #resilience #positivepsychology