“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”
Before beginning this positive article, we would like to give our deepest sympathy and support to Covid-19 victims and their families all around the world. We know that it is a tragic situation for many people: Thousands of people are dying and even more are in pain, suffering severe health issues, and nearly all of us can already see the socioeconomic effects of this virus. It is a difficult situation we are facing.
After a big threat like the Coronavirus, everybody in the world understands that there is now a probability that we could die… With this article, we want to take a moment to breathe and write about the positive effects that will emerge from this pandemic.
Fight or flight?
When a human being is confronted with a threat, their brain makes a decision within seconds: fight or flight. Have a look at this very interesting article about How the brain responds to threats and read Daniel Kahneman’s book on the same subject: “Thinking fast and slow”.
At last, some free time
With nearly 50 percent of the world currently in isolation comes the added benefit of more free time. All of the sudden, we have all of this newly found free time available, and we must acknowledge that we are not used to the privilege of spending so much time with our spouses and children.
Before proceeding with our article, let’s stop and try to answer two very important questions: What are the basic human needs and what makes us happy?
What are the basic Human Being needs?
This is important to help us better understand what is “essential” for each of us. The work of psychologist Abraham Maslow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can give us very useful insights about what we all need. Maslow splits the basic human needs into two categories:
- Deficiency needs which are the basic needs for the daily life of an individual.
- Growth needs which arise as a desire to grow as an individual.
According to Maslow’s original theory, a person has to fulfil his deficiency needs before he can move on to fulfilling his growth needs.
The four deficiency or “basic” needs
- Survival needs: biological or physiological – air, food, drinks, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
- Safety needs: protection in four domains, security, law and order, stability, freedom from fear.
- Love and belongingness needs: friendship, intimacy, trust, acceptance, and giving and receiving love and affection. Affiliation, being part of a group (family, friends, work).
- Esteem needs: which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g. status, prestige).
If those four “basic” or “deficiency needs” are being met, a new one is likely to develop: the need for self-fulfilment. The need to develop on all aspects – physical, social, emotional, and spiritual. Among the characteristics of self-fulfilled people is awareness of living, completeness, joyfulness, unforgettable moments or periods of joy, unity, and understanding.
The four “growth” needs
- Cognitive needs: knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning, and predictability.
- Aesthetic needs: appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.
- Self-actualization needs: realizing personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth, and peak experiences. A desire “to become everything one is capable of becoming”.
- Transcendence needs: a person is motivated by values that transcend beyond the personal self (e.g. mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.).
Why are people happy?
According to the article: “What is happiness?” from PositivePsycology.com, happiness has two different meanings:
- more pleasure and less pain
- the pursuit and attainment of life purpose
What do you need to be happy?
- Sufficient income
- Labour market status
- Physical health
- Social relationships
- Moral values
- Experience of positive emotions
Let’s have a look at the long-lasting positive effects that the Coronavirus will have on us.
- Let’s go back to “THE” essential:
- Yourself, because you are at the centre of your life: whatever your pursuit is, it’s your life.
Your life is a series of choices that you make by yourself: Are you making those choices? Where do you want to live? How do you want to live? You can read further on this interesting subject here: Life is full of choices, here is how to master it and on the same subject, keep the child in you that believes anything is possible as long as you try, as it is wonderfully written in “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho.
How to take good care of yourself? Here are a few ideas from the non-profit organization “Mental Health America”:
1.Work Towards Your Goals:
- Focus on your strengths: Time to improve your knowledge? Read books, tutorials, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC),…
- Improve your problem solving skills.
- Focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past.
- Focus on your life: it could be a nice opportunity to resolve any issues of your wounded inner child. Any child has basic needs to be fulfilled by his parents. Those unfulfilled needs often result in slower development and global functioning, and hence a less satisfied adulthood.
2.Take care of yourself:
- Live Healthily, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs and alcohol. Manage stress and go for regular medical check-ups. Time to improve your health? eating habits, sports, nature, -… and yes, less pollution, so enjoy it! We should not stop exercising because the gyms are locked down! Here are a few workout apps offering free training exercises, thanks to the lock down.
How to stay active during this quarantine? Here are some workout app reviews. Some apps offer longer free trial periods, so let’s try?:
- This coach is broadcasting every day a 30 minutes program on YouTube: The body Coach TV 2020
- The 10 Best Fitness Apps for Home Workouts
- The 8 Best Travel Workout Apps
- 10 ways to work out at home while you’re stuck inside
- Free workouts from Peloton, Nike, and others to help you stay active during your quarantine
- How to work out during a self-quarantine, from free yoga classes to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body weight routine
- 7 Best Yoga Apps You Can Use Anytime and Anywhere
- Practice good hygiene. Good hygiene is important for social, medical, and psychological reasons in that it not only reduces the risk of illness, but it also improves the way others view you and how you view yourself.
- Meet friends to build your sense of belonging. Consider joining a support group to make new friends.
- Try to do something you enjoy every day. That might mean dancing, watching a favourite TV show, working in the garden, painting, or reading.
- Find ways to relax, like meditation, yoga, getting a massage, taking a bath or walking in the woods.
3.Strengthen Your Connections
- Connect With Yourself
- Connect With Others
- Connect To Your Community
4.Create Joy And Satisfaction
- Your family: spouse and children… and less work. You will spend more time at home, take this as an opportunity:
What helps create a successful relationship? Here are some clues:
- Acceptance of self and spouse
- Emotional connection
- Playfulness and humour
- Sexual intimacy
- Personal growth and a shared journey
As you read at the start of this article, according to Maslow, the success of a good relationship is to fulfill the needs of both partners.
Source: How to thrive with your partner?
Educating your children should be back to the centre of the stage: Why not take this as an opportunity for spending more time with your kids? More sports, real games (no screens), or why not cook something… Have fun… of course the school system is there to help but parents are the #1 ingredient for making happier kids and well-balanced future adults (please see Maslow’s “love and belongingness needs”) Read more: What every child needs
- Your friends: spend time with your friends, some sports? Some games? Of course while maintaining the recommended social distance measures!
The other 6 positive effects that will continue after the Covid-19 pandemic:
- Communication is back! (with an acceptable social distance of course)
Yes, it’s nice to see that we are trying to reconnect and communicate more with our family members, friends, and the people around us. Before the Covid-19 crisis, we had less time to talk to each other, we were always running in a million different directions, and trying to fit in work and family schedules with one another. We didn’t have any time left to ask ourselves deeper, meaningful questions about our lives and our overall well-being and functioning. Thanks to the crisis, at last we can take the time to talk to our spouses, children, friends, neighbors, community members, and most importantly, ourselves.
Communication is the basis of our society. Thomas Suddendorf, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia is pointing out: We have a fundamental urge to link our minds together: “This allows us to take advantage of others’ experiences, reflections and imaginings to prudently guide our behaviour.
- More altruistic attitudes, rather than egocentrism?
Perhaps we will observe positive societal changes, and more people saying: “Are you ok?”… “Be brave.” … “Take care”… “May I help?”… Let’s return to a “community feeling” and a “take care” attitude towards others: Are my family members ok? Are my friends in good shape? Are my neighbours okay? How may I help?
- Taking care of our seniors
Our elderly play a big role in our lives. They built foundations, they started our families and communities, and advanced our knowledge…It’s important not to take them for granted, and this pandemic may re-enlightened many on the importance of respecting our elders.
- Local production
Multinationals producing materials in cheap remote countries will start to diversify production sources: let’s go back to local production rather than worldwide outsourcing. While price and profit margins will remain important decision criteria, they will be less important as decision-making factors for outsourcing production.
- Working remotely
People will be more efficient and their work will be valued based on results, rather than time spent on the job or at the office.
Working from home allows more quality time with family and kids, that’s obvious, but there are still many other positive things about working from home:
- Control over your own schedule
- More time for personal pursuits
- Make money doing something you love
- No more commuting
- Control over your work attire
- No boss
- More opportunity for growth
Coworking spaces will keep a central place in this new work environment as we are still working within groups.
- Increases in creativity
Increasing our activities and hobbies helps open up our minds: Learning a new language, learning to code, reading, gardening, cooking, sports, skills to advance your professional career, learning a new activity/sport/hobby.
Here are some easy resources about how to increase activity
- Learn a new language with the European leader: Babbel.com
- Linkedin learning
- The Best Android Apps for Learning How to Code
- The best recipe apps for iOS and Android
- Marmiton, the french cooking website with more than 70,000 recipes
- Coursera, a website with online courses, certificates, and degrees to build your skills
More opportunities to try new things with a clearer mind, the possibilities are endless and the world is your oyster…
Don’t forget no more kisses with foreigners 😉 .
Don’t neglect the basic recommendations to keep yourself and others safe:
- maintaining a social distance of 2 m,
- regular hand washing,
- cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze,
- avoid touching your face after touching hard surfaces where the virus can live.