The power of positivism during pandemic

As the pandemic split the world into pre- and post-COVID-19 eras, people turned away from anxiety, anger, angst, and anguish, to embrace productive, positive changes

July 20, 2020 02:07 pm | Updated July 22, 2020 08:51 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Indian, Happiness, Love, Bonding, Grandfather, Granddaughter,

Indian, Happiness, Love, Bonding, Grandfather, Granddaughter,

In an irony that does not escape her, Roseliz Francis began keeping a gratitude journal when the pandemic hit. A tutor living in the UK, she says: “For an ambivert like me, it has not been easy staying home 24/7, for days together. I was looking for ways to make this experience tolerable. I realised that there is so much to be thankful for and wanted to document that; little things that make a big difference, but are often taken for granted and lost on us in the ‘busyness’ of life.”

Roseliz Francis

Roseliz Francis

She hopes to continue the practice once things return to how they were.

Strength warriors

Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to tap into that ray of sunlight in everyone, says Shaarika Menon, a consultant psychologist from Thiruvananthapuram. She says that we subconsciously practise positive psychology, which is the pursuit of emotional, physical, and mental well-being. However, circumstances, our thoughts and perceptions could drag us down.

“Then we have to consciously find a way out to catch that glimmer of light and let it blaze. Write down what makes you happy and what causes unhappiness. But the most important attribute is be appreciative and grateful,” she says.

However, it is not just the theme of gratitude: Optimism and hope were other doctrines people turned to, through fitness programmes, meditation and rekindling a connection with Nature. Giving, to help artisans or migrant workers was another choice people made. All of these fed into the overarching theme of positivism.

In the book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification , the authors advocate tapping into our positive traits. They divide the book into ‘Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge’, such as curiosity; ‘Strengths of Courage’, such as persistence; ‘Strengths of Humanity’, such as kindness, and more.

It is these that people have begun to take note of. So when Bengaluru-based homemaker Rachana Jagdish Ram says that she would like to continue the interaction with the outdoors, learning new things about the soil, and planting her food, she unknowingly brings out the side of her that is curious, persistent, and grateful.

Chennai-based fashion designer Samanta Chiu is turning to her strength of humanity. “The value of sustainable fashion is evident. It has given me an insight on how ‘less is more’ from a business perspective. All my cotton fabric scraps are made into face masks and a certain percentage of the sale proceeds go towards face mask donations for the elderly and children in and around Chennai,” says Samanta.

As we exit lockdown, we asked people what they would take away from these testing times and the corresponding strengths they would enhance, to bring positivism to the fore.

Bare necessities

As an Associate Partner at EY in Bengaluru, Rajesh R Nair realised that the most positive space for him was home. “Before the lockdown, I was travelling nearly every day between cities and clients. The first thing I realised during lockdown was that a lot of that travel could have been avoided. Going forth, we will look at travel with a closer lens and avoid what is unnecessary,” he says.

The main thing is to take a lesson from these testing times and develop a strategy to stay upbeat.

Rajesh Nair , Associate Partner, EY

Rajesh Nair , Associate Partner, EY

Entrepreneur and Instagrammer Minu Marie Mathew from Mumbai did not let the slump in her business knock her to the ground. “It has been a time to create new opportunities. I began a Facebook page called Girl Boss Going Places, which is doing well now. I mentor around 500 entrepreneurs and handhold them to find motivation, and business collaboration. A halt in an old activity can create the way to a new one.”

Stepping out of the comfort zone has been a confidence booster for many. Quarantine and social distancing left several senior citizens feeling lonely and isolated. Not 83-year-old retired teacher PS Padmini from Kottayam, Kerala, who is holding an online exhibition of her craft and works to raise funds to build a house for 14-year-old Athira, who lives in a dilapidated house. “All my age-related discomforts vanished when I put my heart into the exhibition,” she says.

PS Padmini

PS Padmini


Entrepreneur and homemaker Anjali Manoj from Thiruvananthapuram says that she has learnt to value every moment and never take even one stress-free moment for granted. She adds, “I plan to create more festivity and occasions for no reason. Celebrate the small pleasures and celebrate life more.”

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