The United States saw the same trend — despite societal tumult that yielded a national drop in positive emotions and a rise in negative ones. The country fell one spot, to 19th, in the annual rankings of the report, which was released Saturday.
The report is good news regarding global resilience, experts say.
“I don’t want to leave an impression that all was well, because it’s not,” said one of the report’s editors, Jeffrey Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University. But while the use of national averages masks individual well-being disparities, Sachs said, the data suggests that “people have not thrown up their hands about their lives.”
Stressors such as those we’ve experienced this year can encourage people to craft a different, big-picture concept of happiness. And this, psychologists say, can improve resilience. You’ve already likely taken the opportunity to examine your own big picture this past year, but, if you’ve been having difficulty, and because we’re not done with this pandemic, here are some strategies to help.
Look for awe-inducing experiences
When the rover Perseverance touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, Ethan Kross, a professor and director of the Emotion and Self-Control Lab at the University of Michigan, felt something powerful: awe.
“When you experience awe, that’s an emotion we have when you’re in the presence of something that’s vast and hard to explain,” said Kross, the recent author of “Chatter.” “Like, I don’t know how the hell we figured out how to land on another planet, right? But it fills me with awe.”
The landing, he recalled, reminded him of life’s bigger (in this case, interplanetarily massive) picture. “What science has shown is that when you experience awe, that leads to a ‘shrinking of the self,’ ” Kross explained. “So our own problems feel smaller by comparison.” Perseverance, it seems, helped him summon the same.
Read the full article at The Washington Post.