The way this fierce pandemic has outbroken and has left the entire world shattered is a matter of grave concern. Not knowing how this pandemic will play out, affects our physical and mental well-being against a backdrop of a world that is increasingly anxious, unhappy and lonely. Psychological stress is evident due to a sense of a lack of control in the face of such uncertainty. As a key measure to handle the pandemic, guidelines have been issued to practice social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine. The hitch with selfisolation or social lockdown are obvious symptoms of traumatic stress, confusion and annoyance, all of which are worsened by fear of the unknown which often leads to feelings of panic. An inherent fear of infection, having limited access to supplies of necessities, lack of information or the erroneous information, either provided inadvertently or maliciously is also ensuring to amplify the effects.

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A very tough regime, hard to implement and follow but if attempted deliberately and systematically, we can hope to emerge all safe and revitalized with new energies and outlook towards life. We need to navigate our thought process to construct a life that will be more content, stable, and robust. Finding happiness under fraught circumstances can be challenging but is truly the call of the time. We can find messages of hope at multiple platforms recommending on how people can find happiness amidst COVID-19 and what the world can do to come out stronger after this global crisis. Ironically, the recent release of World Happiness Report 2020 came during a time where the meaning of happiness has become very skewed amidst this pandemic. But this report is a matter of in-depth analysis, which truly highlights how people can use the findings as a learning tool to navigate happiness.

The Happiness Report measures happiness across six components: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, sense of freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perception of corruption. Surprisingly, the top ranked countries have scored high on social support, the aspects which reflects trust and generosity in the people and the system. The top ranked countries have a well-functioning and democratic institutions which are providing the citizens with extensive benefits and security. The citizens also exhibit high trust in institutions and each other. These components form a part of a virtuous cycle to obtain happiness. The high trust countries and cities are more resilient to change and crisis and believe in unity. When an absolute disastrous pandemic like this attack and shatters the health and economy of a country's residents, the residents of a high trust society quite naturally look forward to and find cooperative ways to work together so as to repair the damage and rebuild their lives. People are pleasantly overwhelmed by the willingness of their neighbours and their institutions to work in harness to help each other which delivers a heightened sense of belonging, and pride in what they have been able to achieve by way of mitigation. Such a feeling is sometimes great enough to compensate for the material losses that this pandemic has created.

It’s crucial to believe that happiness is not lost, and indeed, the key to finding it during this time is not through social distancing but rather through distance socializing. Remaining socially connected with folks, friends, colleagues, and family members is indeed crucial in finding happiness during this fraught crisis situation. Socializing not for the sake of formality but in true sense. The purpose should be to instil trust and confidence in each other and spread it across the connected network. Believe me, it’s contagious! It’s indeed critical to change our values and perspectives to focus on the health and well-being of others and combat COVID-19 through social support. So, let’s use this moment to take stock of our own emotional well-being and of the people around us. Together, we can make a difference at large. Just a little introspection to our dimensions of happiness will be an inspiring learning tool for us to imagine and create a better world; a world that humans will inhabit, not dispose of. We can smoothly navigate happiness with a purpose

By Dr. Pallavi (Joshi) Kapooria 
Faculty (Department of Marketing)
Prestige Institute of Management & Research