Reconnecting with the Inner Self for Mental Well Being during COVID
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Remember the last time you played that guitar? Remember the last time you captured scenic beauty? What about painting the landscape? Or about your favorite dance steps? I am sure you can’t remember. As we grow older, we bury our hobbies under the blanket of professional and personal responsibility. Our lives revolve around our jobs and rightly so, as they bring us the money to sustain a living. Many find themselves lost in this rut and lose touch with the creative, happier side they once had.
Everyone was running behind something and it’s like one day the earth decided to stop this wheel. And it did. With the scare of COVID-19, the wheel of our fast-moving life stopped. It was as if the earth was giving us an option to re-think our lives choices.
As you open your WhatsApp and Instagram today, you will see creativity at its best. People are taking us the extra time to re-connect with their hobbies and passions. Some are cooking, some are dancing, some are singing and some connecting with nature through yoga and meditation to keep themselves engaged and happy. A lot of people around me have now started to realise, the importance of just a few hours of connecting with one’s hobby for an overall happier day.
MeVero Inc, a global digital platform of applications and tools for the effective pursuit of passion conducted a baseline survey with 750 adults from San Francisco, New York, London, Mumbai, and Bengaluru each. The study aimed to understand the level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in these people and the driving forces for the same. The findings of the survey revealed that 82% of the variation of satisfaction levels in the sample could be explained by exactly three factors, apart from material wealth. These include:
Ability to effectively pursue one’s area of passion
Ability to form meaningful relationships
Ability to growth through self-learning and experiences
This study was repeated recently with smaller sample size, to understand the trend during the COVID-19 Lockdown and the results were the same.
The pandemic has surely caused a great deal of uncertainty amongst people with almost 90% expressing anxiety about their future and livelihood. But what was interesting was that the drivers of satisfaction for life remained the same- Passion. The need to effectively pursue an area of passion has become an even stronger driver of satisfaction. To take their mind off the negative news of COVID and its impact, people sought relief in their hobbies. Almost 65% of the respondents expressed a desire to spend more time pursuing their passion and 52% admitted that they were indeed spending more time reconnecting with their passion since the lockdown.
There is no denying that there is a crisis, an existential one at that. But the lockdown has allowed people the time and the opportunity to pursue their passion and form meaningful relationships with their family members. 75% of the people surveyed expressed a desire to change the level of satisfaction they had with their life and almost 64% said that they were taking concrete steps to change the way they feel. This goes to show that the reset button by our mother earth has made us think and analyse our life and our priorities. While earning money will also be important, we have now realised the importance of true happiness that comes for following our hearts and our relationships.
When the study delved into specific areas of passion, it was found that almost 80% of the respondents wanted to pursue creative arts and performing arts like music, dance, photography, painting, acting, and to some extent playing their favorite sport. This highlighted that creative pursuit was paramount in people’s minds. It was the creative expression of self, which led to a more meaningful existence and drove satisfaction in life. There was a very small section of respondents who leaned towards the material pursuit of wealth, which goes to show that more and more people are now understanding that there is more to life than material wealth.
It was observed that of the total respondents, 73% of women were more inclined towards pursuing their passion as compared to 48% of men. This highlights an important distinction in the way men and women perceive happiness. While women understand overall happiness can be achieved with the mix of responsibility and pursuing one's passion, men are still focussed on mere survival and to some extent the security provided by material wealth.
Once the lockdown lifts, life will return to how it was, but the important lessons and practices we followed during our ‘time-out’ will define the new normal for us. As we reflect on what gives us happiness and true satisfaction in life, we will break the age-old shackles of running after only the material possessions. The pursuit of passion, meaningful relationships, and self-growth will become the center point of existence and it’s about time it does.