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[Blog] THE POSITIVE LESSONS OF COVID-19

Dr Dharam Bhugun

Since the coronavirus outbreak, most of the world’s population went in pessimistic gear, from feeling helpless, hopeless, futureless and lonely. Even the most optimistic can feel vulnerable from witnessing deaths, innumerable severe illness, drastic changes to their lifestyle and crippling economic and structural consequences to the social fabric of life.

This is where and why the need for positivity becomes even more crucial because positive emotions generate happiness. Along the negative impacts of Covid-19, we have also witnessed our strengths and positive attributes to life.We can reflect on the lessons learnt from this pandemic, such as its positive impact on the environment, nurturing relationships at home, reinforcing family and kinship values, engaging in collective community spirit, building resilience in adversity, developing creative minds, using sense of humour, adapting to uncertainties, appreciating our short journey in life, and most of all comprehending the realms of empathy, kindness, compassion, care, gratitude, humility and respect for what we have and where we belong.

To many, it will be a complete reset of life and how we engage and live with it. Since a very long time, we are seeing a clearer environment, with cleaner rivers, blue skies, lesser cars on the roads, animals roaming around freely, and we are taking things slower. Our focus has changed from the‘wants’ to the necessities of life. We are realising who our friends are, even though lots of them through social media, and caring for our neighbours.We realised that we spend more time with and understand other people more than our own family members. When at home, we spend more time on the phones, sharing with other people than our own family members.The fear of missing out is no longer an issue. We discovered our singing, dancing, artistry, exercise needs, gardening, cooking and humoristic positive inner-self. We are not worried about our looks and for some fake and materialistic needs. We have taken a break from the freneticism of life before Covid-19.

Social isolation has provided us the opportunity to assess and care for our mental health and awareness for those who suffer from this debilitating illness through feelings of being down, lonely and depressed. Keeping in contact with people who are dear to us have become more important than ever, and thus the value of positive social media that facilitate the process. The ability to work from home, lessening our carbon footprint, unprecedented family bonding that was getting lesser and lesser due to heavy workload of two working parents, clearing our minds and thoughts, becoming creative, re-evaluating what’s important and what is not, not taking things for granted, and adjusting a new way of living are all but positive experiences for our future.

Covid-19 triggered people and organizations to re-evaluate their purpose because latter provides us with sense. For example, religion, spirituality, good work ethics and volunteering for a good cause provide individuals with sense. 

For a long time, people have been trying to find pleasure in material wealth, but are deprived on meaning because meaning is embedded in emotions. Others are taking time to reflect on their achievements and reassessing missed opportunities. World leaders are discarding their differences and trying to find a common solution to the problem. 

Governments are thinking more seriously on how to handle their economies than ever before. While the world was struggling how to reduce carbon emissions, COVID-19 significantly solved the problem for them. From a health perspective, COVID-19 challenged the world’s health standards and exposed the inadequacies of health services in many countries. It has revamped health budgets, behavioural changes, hygiene and cleanliness, physical fitness and people’s dietary habits. People are thinking of ways of making the most and best of life’s scarcest resource: TIME. COVID-19 has stretched our understanding of human needs and nature. It has opened new doors for research and innovations in areas like essential services, protective equipments, masks, etc. New business opportunities are emerging all over the world. At the same time, it has brought our attention and realisation to the need for preparedness and self-reliance.

Globally, nations demonstrated their spirit of humanness and service towards their fellow citizens by becoming introspective, acting positively, acknowledging the importance of quarantine and social distancing to protect ourselves and others. We have become somewhat more health conscious, prioritise our priorities, learnt to stop some usual activities which are a waste of time such as drinking at the pub, wasting money on unhealthy fast food and staying away from places we should not be. We come to the realisation that we are all in the same boat regardless of race, nationality, religion, political affiliation, rich and poor, and young and old. We are learning to live one day at a time. 

Covid-19 has not only caused deaths, sickness, lockdowns, anxiety, anger, stress and negative impact on people’s lifestyle, but it has also given rise to a new world order triggered by just a small microbe. The future belongs to the organised and disciplined. As individuals, we need to re-evaluate our lives, prepare our minds, body and spirit to face future tragedies. The following are some tips to stay safe and well:

1.    Limit your intake of the social media and news by choosing one news source only and spend a limited in the morning and afternoon on it.
2.    Look to the past major catastrophes and how you dealt with it positively 
3.    Watch the best shows, the funniest videos and YouTube. Read a good book
4.    Look for things to do such as caring for your neighbours, supporting your favourite local business, giving gifts to people, using time beneficially, practicing acts of kindness
5.    Making a daily inventory of your accomplishments
6.    Take time to appreciate your environment
7.    Enjoy a good coffee break
8.    Do fun activities with members of your family
9.    Cook your favourite food
10.  Exercise, sing or play an instrument
11.  Connect with friends and families
12.  Tell those dear to you how much you love them

Dr Dharam Bhugun

PhD. MSW, MM, DSS, DCIT, MAASW
Psychosocial Therapist 
Clinical Lecturer, Griffith University
Guest Lecturer, Southern Cross University
Author, Writer, International Guest Speaker
Media Commentator

 

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