Positive Psychology during COVID-19

Positive psychology is the scientific study of valued subjective experiences, including well-being, contentment and satisfaction (in the past); hope and optimism (for the future); and flow and happiness (in the present).

The social isolation and loneliness that many people are living through right now are likely to negatively impact certain elements of those experiences, particularly those focused on the present and future.

Achieving flow—which is defined as a state of optimal experience characterized by focused engagement and enjoyment of the task at hand, a merging of actions and awareness and a distorted sense of time—is something most of us would find nearly impossible at the moment considering the distractions at home and the uncertainty in the world.

And hope and optimism for the future may be hard for many of us to imagine these days.

For these reasons, the use of positive psychology is particularly important when working with clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In ACE’s recent webinar entitled “Connecting with Clients during COVID-19,” Sabrena Jo, MS, ACE’s Director of Science and Research, highlighted two a that are particularly pertinent right now.

First, having meaningful social connections and the ability to communicate are two of the things that make us uniquely human, and they are necessary for our survival throughout the lifespan.

And second, when social connectivity and engagement with others is restricted, it could lead to social isolation and loneliness, which could have adverse health consequences. A 2015 study looked at these negative health outcomes across the lifespan from childhood to older adulthood and found a higher likelihood of the following (Hawkley & Capitanio, 2015):

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Poor-quality sleep
  • Problems with self-regulation and cognition
  • Compromised cardiovascular function
  • Impaired immunity

The good news is that now more than ever before we can use technology to our advantage to connect with others. Videoconferencing has surged recently due to the shelter-in-place ord

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