Six months ago, it was easy for many Americans to think that COVID-19 was on the defensive. Vaccinations have been ticking like checked case numbers. The summer sun made getting outside really enjoyable, after a cooped up winter of socializing with only our pods. Maybe, just maybe, Zoom fatigue would soon be a thing of the past.
If you’re not really feeling optimistic about the year ahead, you’re not alone. Here are five of our favorite stories highlighting resilience, healing, and yes, hope, to help you navigate 2022.
1. “Work with Hope”
But if you think that makes our company unique, think again. Since humans have been writing, they have faced crises, learned to adapt – more than we give our species – and maintained hope. And today’s readers can draw strength from yesterday’s literature.
Whether it’s Homer’s Greek epic “The Iliad” or American poet Emily Dickinson, writings on resilience often share key themes, says Hadas: learning to balance the present and the future. , the global horizon and the joy of the little things along the way. Quoting the modern Greek poet George Seferis, she writes of the need to “go back to sea with our broken oars”.
2. Before Healing, Remember
The pandemic has robbed people not only of joy, but also of ways to deal with their grief. While many people are taking “every opportunity to reconnect” and find new normals, others are still mourning lost loved ones, especially if COVID-19 restrictions have prevented the kinds of healing and commemoration that families once took for granted.
Eventually, as the pandemic wanes, both groups can find happiness, but in different ways, writes David Sloan, which studies commemoration and mourning practices.
With normal healing interrupted, “daily memories“from flags and photographs to tattoos can help people “move from the depths of the pandemic into the reopened society by providing them with ways to grieve and remember.”
As we recover, joy and sorrow are often mixed together, he says, but don’t let “survivor’s guilt” keep you from finding comfort.
3. Lean into rituals
In all cultures, rituals can mark life milestones, strengthen social bonds and even promote hygiene – such as Wudu, ritual purification before prayers in Islam. Yet the pandemic has interrupted everyday rituals like handshakes and hugs, not to mention once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings or bar mitzvahs.
But this presents an opportunity to adapt, writes the psychologist Cristine Legare. People often rely on rituals to manage stress and exert control, which helps them deal with uncertainty — part of what’s so overwhelming about the pandemic.
“There are good reasons why people spend time, money and energy on rituals in the face of COVID-19 restrictions,” she writes. “They are essential for meeting our physical, social and psychological needs in the face of adversity.”
4. Hope versus optimism
Hope does not expect good things, psychologist Jacqueline Mattis clarifies: it is believing that they are possible, then creating paths to reach them. In other words, have a plan.
She offers five strategies for actively cultivating hope: having goals, exploiting uncertainty, managing attention, seeking community and examining evidence. Challenges like a global pandemic call for adapting, not giving up, and “uncertainty is not a reason for paralysis – it’s a reason for hope,” writes Mattis.
“Hopeful people don’t wish – they imagine and act,” she writes, emphasizing the importance of acting in community. Research on anti-poverty activists, for example, points out that their relationships sparked their hope and belief, giving them “a sense of responsibility, of recognizing that their work mattered and that they were part of something bigger than themselves.”
5. Get in the flow
For people still crafting their 2022 resolutions, a cognitive scientist Richard Huskey has a suggestion: add flow.
It’s also on its own list. “Flow”, a term coined in the 1970s by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is that feeling of complete absorption, or intense focus, when someone’s thoughts “focus on an experience rather than themselves” . Huskey explains.
Intrinsically rewarding experiences, like those that put us “in the zone,” promote mental health, well-being, and resilience. In reality, a chinese study shows that people with more “flow” in their lives “had better well-being during the COVID-19 quarantine”.
Editor’s note: This story is a summary of articles from The Conversation archives.