Op-ed: Make room to flourish, even during a pandemic

The physical, psychological, and financial burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it harder for many Americans to focus on their well-being and ability to flourish, according to Tyler VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

In a November 19, 2020, op-ed in Psychology Today, VanderWeele discussed several activities that can help people refocus their efforts on flourishing, including gratitude exercises, random acts of kindness, savoring positive experiences, and imagining and reflecting on one’s best possible self.

VanderWeele noted that individuals can only do so much, and the pandemic has highlighted the need to address systemic issues that hinder people.

“Reform and improvement of mental health systems are required. Economic conditions that lead to opportunities for all to flourish are needed,” he wrote. “And we need national and worldwide cooperation in battling this pandemic, and in being better prepared for the future.”

Read the Psychology Today op-ed: Simple Activities to Enhance Flourishing