Living through a pandemic has shown us the fragility of life, and given us a profound wake-up call on what matters the most.
The hyper-connected, always-on world we inhabit is one where we have the convenience of technology coupled with information overload and constant distractions. Everything we want or need is made available at the touch of a button, from within the comforts of our home. But, is it really?
In this rush to race through life, many of us have forgotten to ‘stop and smell the roses’.
Perhaps nothing could have better illustrated the irony of life pre-COVID than the present times we find ourselves in. Today, we have more time on our hands but fewer opportunities to spend it. The hobbies or activities we had no interest in before the pandemic hit have helped us to find our ‘zen’. Data shows meditation apps, once considered niche, have seen a surge in usage and are now launching new features weekly to support the mental wellness needs of people.
This trend, and recent changes in our collective behavior, raise an important question – what can COVID- 19 teach us about living well.
Conversations with anyone from the Pioneer Generation evoke a sense of nostalgia but also veer towards talk about life in simpler times. Do the yesteryears and the wisdom of past generations hold clues to how we can live more meaningfully? Everyone knows the story of Singapore, and its evolution from a fishing village to the bustling metropolis it is today. Yet, what numerous silver citizens’ recall, are not stories of Singapore’s economic progress, but the kampung spirit that united everyone regardless of socio-economic backgrounds. There is much to be said about this sense of community. In fact, researchers from the Washington State University found that a person’s social and living environment can impact longevity.
Similar findings were also reported from a study in South Korea which showed that engaging in physical leisure activities at a sports club made participants happier and age better. Another study found that pleasurable leisure activities done regularly were related to higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression.
The Pioneer Generation and senior citizens we are fortunate to have around us, have witnessed World Wars, lived through tough times, faced economic and geo-political hardships – and through it all managed to lay the foundations of a prosperous nation and cohesive society. There is much to learn from them, but the most profound lesson may be learning to thrive despite the circumstances and in seeking happiness within.
The Wall Street Journal: Does having a hobby increase your happiness? (By Heidi Mitchell)
The Washington Post: Feeling stressed? Meditation apps see surge in group relaxation. (By Rachel Lerman)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of St. John's Home for Elderly Persons.
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