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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with great intensity, it can be hard to stay upbeat these days.
Besides the correlated financial stressors and health involvements, the lack of certainty regarding the virus’s result has destroyed one of the primary contributors to our general happiness, making optimism challenging to have.
The cognitive neuroscientist and author of “The Optimism Bias,” Tali Sharot, mentioned in her statement with CNBC Make It that a sense of control is essential for happiness.
In fact, during her research in the peak of lockdowns, Sharot and her colleagues at University College London discovered that control is the top contributor to the general public’s overall happiness. The people who felt that they had a way of company in their day-to-day lives were much happier than others who did not.
In the months following that, people have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the typical person’s happiness pitch has come back to a “baseline,” stated Sharot, illustrating happiness as a treadmill.
“You can go up and down, but people do converge to a certain baseline of happiness. That’s true when things are very, very difficult; they eventually find their way back to that baseline. But when things are good, after a while, they adapt to these good things and go back to the baseline.”Tali Sharot
However, she said it does not indicate that we don’t need to look for new ways to uplift our happiness level. One of the best methods of doing such is to begin by creating plans or what she refers to as “anticipatory events.” She said that these ways help us retake feelings of excitement and a sense of control.
Based on a Dutch study of close to 1,000 holidaymakers in 2010, researchers discovered that planning a holiday contributes to increasing the respondents’ happiness levels than the trip itself.
Naturally, planning for the future is effortless said than done today. With many uncertainties ahead and possible supplementary lockdowns emerging, it can be hard to organize anything with assurance and conviction.
But those plans don’t require being big or immovable. They can be a vacation for the next summer, dinner with friends, watching a movie, or going for a hiking adventure.
“Anticipation makes us happy in and of itself... It’s important to still get into the habit of making those plans, putting them in the diary, and having things that we can look forward to.”Tali Sharot