Finding Happiness in the Apocalypse
I’ve been joking for awhile that we’re in the apocalypse. I’ve talked in this blog about how this may in fact be a slow motion apocalypse. What do I mean by that? We always envision the apocalypse like it happens in a disaster movie. Someone notices something wrong, then within fifteen minutes, super volcanoes are exploding, giant earthquakes are happening, the tsunami hits or the aliens have landed. Then everything goes haywire and the world is completely upside down in every way and you’re being chased down the street by zombies. That’s not what we’re living with right now, but certainly our whole world has been turned upside down. So we might not being chased by Zombies, but we’re working from home, our travel is limited, almost 8 million people have become ill, over 200,000 are dead. Schools are closed, for a time most of us were on full lockdown. That we are all under more stress right now is a given, we’re all at least a little afraid of getting sick, or of family getting sick. A lot of us know someone who has died from this disease.
So how do you find happiness in our slow motion apocalypse?
The answer is likely going to be a bit disappointing. You see, you find it now like you always have. It starts with protecting your health, minimizing negativity, getting out of your comfort zone, feeling safe and secure and finding joy. So a little bit about each one in our apocalyptic times.
Protecting your health
This one should be the easiest thing right now as it’s at the forefront of all of our thoughts. But staying healthy doesn’t just mean wearing a mask when you’re out and about among other people. It means eating right, sleeping enough, finding ways to exercise and making sure you take your medications and following the advice from your doctor. During the pandemic, it might also mean either getting some sun each day or taking some vitamin D supplements, there’s beginning to be some evidence showing it may provide some protection against COVID.
This one is always pretty easy advice on paper and much harder in life, but it’s pretty simple. If there are people, institutions, etc… in your life that reduce your happiness, if at all possible cut them out. It may mean reducing contact with someone, less time on social media or changing stores. On a larger level and over a larger time scale, it may mean doing something as large as moving or changing jobs.
Getting out of your comfort zone
This is, as regular readers know, my favorite piece of advice on happiness. For me, this has always meant adventure and adventure for me means travel. So right now, travel isn’t a great option. So we have to find smaller and innovative ways to get out of our comfort zone. But there are still lots of ways to do it. Camping, is an activity you can still do, so if you’re not a camper it’s a way to start stretching yourself. If you’ve done some camping, maybe try doing some backcountry camping and hiking. It could mean something as simple as cooking different types of food you’ve never made before, or the ever present pandemic cliche of learning how to make sourdough bread. If you’re someone who regularly walks a trail or in a park, try doing the exact same walk at night, you’ll be amazed at how different it will be.
Learning something new is a great way to get out of your comfort zone. Personally I’ve been working on improving my Spanish Language skills using Duolingo. But equally, you could learn a musical instrument, computer programming, knitting or just about anything else.
Feeling safe and secure
Taoist philosophy discusses that in order to be happy that first you must be healthy and secondly you must feel safe and secure. That can mean either physically or mentally. So always make sure you’re doing what you have to do to maintain your safety. When it comes to protecting your mental safety, it often goes back to avoiding negativity as we discussed before.
This one seems like it really should be easier and maybe that says something about the complexity of our modern lives that it isn’t. But the easiest way for most of us to find joy is through play. For me, the easiest way to get there is interact with little kids. They are still in a place in life where they contact joy quickly and easily and that joy is contagious. Playing games or make believe with little kids is such an amazing gateway to this, I highly recommend it. If that’s not an option than go play like a kid, run around in a park, find ways to laugh, just be plain silly and hopefully that will bring you to joy.
It may be the apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy. So do what you can my friends and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane