The most popular class at Yale? Psych 157: Psychology and the Good Life. This “happiness course” was launched by professor Laurie Santos in 2018 and has been taken by a quarter of Yale students. Another 200,000 have taken the (free) online version.
Talking recently about the impact of Covid on our mental health, Santos pointed out one way many of us go wrong when looking for happiness. People are prioritizing self-care these days, which Santos agrees is important, but thinks many people misunderstand the concept.
“We assume that self-care looks like a nice bubble bath — or even hedonistic pursuits, selfish pursuits,” Santos says. “But the data suggests that the right way to treat ourselves would be to do nice things for other people. We actually get more out of being more open and more social and more other-oriented than spending money on ourselves. It’s a bigger increase to your happiness.”
But how to we be more “other-oriented” in our current environment? Some things are inching back toward “normal,” but there is still a lot of uncertainty in our lives. As temperatures turn cooler, some of the outside activities we’ve been able to do will end, and many people and local businesses will continue to struggle. Here are some ways to boost your attitude, and to support and connect with your community:
- Shop locally. Visit your local shops or order take out regularly from your favorite local restaurant. Many local shops and restaurants continue to offer contactless delivery or curbside pickup.
- Buy gift cards. If you don’t feel comfortable going out at all, buy gift cards! This can be done online or over the phone, for use during future visits or to give as gifts. Don’t forget small businesses like gyms, salons and spas.
- Spread the word. Boost your favorite local spots by sharing, posting or re-sharing their messaging on social media.
- Create (or join) a virtual group. Keep connected online with a virtual book club (check your library’s website) or neighborhood group, or just get your friend group together occasionally to keep in touch.
- Volunteer locally! Volunteer at a local food bank or church, or help at a local event. Organizations continue to provide services, and in many cases have more people who need services and fewer volunteers able to help.
- Donate. If you can, support local community organizations or non-profits with monetary donations. Or check their websites to see if they need any items that you might have to offer.
- Keep in touch. Check in and let people know you are thinking of them. If you can, offer to help with small tasks, or just make sure they’re coping through these times.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do what you can to support your community, but don’t hesitate to ask if you need support. One thing we’ve learned this year is that we are truly all in this together.
At The Joseph Group, we’re all about helping our clients and friends lead great, purposeful, happy lives. Try some of these suggestions to boost your spirits in the coming months, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you live your best life.
This WealthNotes was written by Michelle O’Brien, TJG Marketing & Business Development Coordinator
Sources: Guideposts, 9 Ways to Support Your Community During Tough Times, Apple News, This is the Biggest Happiness Mistake Most People Make