7 Reasons You May Actually Feel Better During the Pandemic

As most folks struggle and stress to get through this messy mishmash we call “pandemic,” there is a certain group of people who are living a whole different sort of life.

These folks are actually doing the opposite of struggling and stressing. There is, in fact, something about the current situation that makes them feel better in some deep and important way.

Some feel more grounded, some feel more focused, and some feel more valid than they always have. Some feel less alone, less lost, or less insecure than they have throughout their adult lives.

I know what you may be thinking: How could this be? Are these people selfish or self-centered or taking delight in other people’s struggle and worry and pain?

Absolutely, positively not.

In fact, most of the folks who are feeling better right now are genuinely caring people who, if anything, tend to over-focus on other people’s needs at the expense of their own.

Let’s take a look at the variables that explain all this.

 

7 Reasons You May Feel Better and Happier During the Epidemic

  1. Folks with Chronic FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) — These are the people who walk through their lives feeling like they are somehow on the outside of things. They look around and see other people laughing and enjoying life. To these folks, it always seems that other people are living more exciting and happy lives. So finally, now, with almost the entire population trapped at home, it’s easier to relax in the knowledge that they aren’t missing anything.
  2. Those Who Have Always Felt Alone in the World — If, as a child, you did not receive enough emotional support from your parents, you are likely to go through your adult life feeling somewhat alone in the world. Perhaps you have felt alone for so long that it has become comfortably uncomfortable. Perhaps, in this global crisis, you really are alone. Perhaps you are able to tolerate being alone far better than others. Perhaps, finally, your real life on the outside mirrors what you’ve always felt on the inside and it is, on some level, validating.
  3. People Whose Specific Childhood Challenges Prepared Them — If your childhood was unpredictable, was filled with uncertainty, or required you to make decisions you weren’t prepared for or act beyond your years, then perhaps your childhood prepared you for this very moment. When you grow up this way you develop some special skills out of necessity. You learn how to hyper-focus in ambiguous situations and how to act decisively and trust yourself. Since you have a solid foundation of the exact skills needed for the pandemic, you may be feeling more focused and confident right now than you have in years.
  4. People Who Feel Numb Unless Something Extreme is Happening — If you wouldn’t describe yourself as an emotional person, or if you find yourself feeling nothing when you know you should be feeling something, you may find yourself having some real emotions as this COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Scores of people need a novel or extreme situation to feel something. Some engage in dangerous, unpredictable, or thrill-seeking activities in order to feel. Today, the danger, unpredictability, and thrills have come to them. Finally, they are having feelings, and any feelings, even negative ones, are better than numbness.
  5. Extreme Introverts — If you’re a severe homebody who gets tired of being required to go out into the world and mix with people more than is comfortable for you, this may be your respite. Finally, instead of having to adjust to everyone else, everyone else is adjusting to you. There’s a new normal afoot, and it is you! What a nice feeling, at last.
  6. Those Already Struggling With Significant Life Challenges Before the Pandemic — Some people were already dealing with some major life crises or challenges before this epidemic hit. For them, this situation may feel like somewhat of a relief. Suddenly, with the world shut down, it’s not possible to struggle or solve. As a result, this situation may offer you a bit of rest. And you’re also seeing everyone else struggling, which may feel comforting in a certain way. It’s not that you want other people to have problems; it just feels soothing that you are no longer alone. Everyone else is having problems too.
  7. Anxious Worriers Who Have Spent Years Anticipating Disaster — Anxiety can drive people to have a grave fear of being blindsided by an unexpected, painful experience. So some people constantly anticipate what might go wrong as a way to prevent themselves from any sudden, negative shock. Now, here we are. That long-anticipated, long-prepared-for event has happened. These folks are feeling relieved that what they’ve been vigilantly watching out for their entire lives is finally here. Instead of feeling shocked, they feel relieved.

What This All Means

If any single one of the above applies to you, even in some small way, it’s possible that you may have some feelings of guilt about it. You may be concerned that it’s wrong to feel better at a time like this.

I want to assure you that it is not! Since we cannot choose our feelings, you should never judge yourself for having a feeling. But it is your responsibility to use your emotions in a healthy way. More about that in a moment. But first…

If any of the first four apply to you, if you are prone to FOMO, a feeling of aloneness, were prepared for this pandemic by your childhood, or live with a numb or empty feeling, you may want to consider the possibility that you grew up with some amount of Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN. CEN can be quite difficult to see or remember, yet it leaves you with these very specific burdens to carry through your adult life. And one very good thing about CEN is that once you know about it, you can heal it!

Now, about how you can use your preparedness and your positive feelings in a good way right now. You likely have more time, and you may be feeling some relief. This is your opportunity to work on understanding yourself better, owning your childhood challenges — which perhaps also made you stronger — and accepting your feelings instead of judging yourself for having them.

More Resources

It’s a tough time and, in ways we never imagined, we are all in this together. But, in another way, we are also each in it alone. What a marvelous twist it can be if you use this terrible time to heal yourself.

To find out if you grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect Take The Free Emotional Neglect Test.

You will find lots of guidance and help for understanding what was missing in your childhood and healing it in yourself and your relationships in the books Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect and Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships.

Jonice

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Jane - August 8, 2021 Reply

Thank you for this article. I had an emotional breakdown in November of 2019. 4 months later, COVID locked down the world. I have used this alone time to work with a Therapist, and to try to heal the grief I had run from-caused by multiple losses throughout my life. When things started to open up this Spring, I went into a complete panic. I was not ready to return to the ‘new normal’. I told my Therapist that although I would not wish COVID on anyone- it actually had served me very well.

    Jonice - August 8, 2021 Reply

    Dear Jane, healing happens in stages. Think about this next more opened-up phase as your next stage of healing. You can start fresh, taking advantage of your new self and all the work you have done.

Triston - May 1, 2020 Reply

My life has basically not changed at all, so I’m good. I’m an extreme introvert who thrives on routine, so I’m good there, and I have a habit of only “worrying” about things that directly affect me (mostly social interactions). Granted, there’s a difference between “worrying about” something and knowing that it is an issue that needs to be dealt with–calmly and rationally. I wash my hands for 20 seconds, but I don’t stockpile groceries.
…Of course, I am a college student, and I’d finally adjusted to being in college and was going to finally go out and try and be more sociable this semester, and life seems to always screw things up for me whenever I start feeling good about myself, but that’s another thing.

heather - April 20, 2020 Reply

I am an anxious person and have struggled to keep agoraphobia at bay for my whole life. Now— I have been ordered to cancel all my plans and stay at home! Honestly, it feels great. I know that I will have a difficult re-entry, because I’m really getting used to being home and avoiding ALL anxiety-producing situations. But that’s okay, I’m ready and I can cope with it when the world opens back up. I just know it will be challenging.
But I’m also going to enjoy this guilty pleasure of being holed up at home (like I’ve always dreamed of!) without having to explain or be embarrassed by my isolation.

    Jonice - April 21, 2020 Reply

    That makes sense, Heather. Thanks for sharing your point of view!

Mark D'Angelo - April 16, 2020 Reply

Wow, 2 through 7 apply to me, I also live in a wonderful place so staying home and riding mountain bikes are the way I like to spend my life, my cat loves me being home more as well, I have learned to live below my means so I have enough money to get be by for a little. I am a bit worried what will happen in the long term and its horrible people are dying , I can only imagine what people are going through loosing loved ones, their jobs and income when living week to week before this happened.
In my mind and the way I live I never take anything for granted,I feel life has trained me to be mentally prepared this terrible event and much worse.I feel like I am finally in what i perceive is reality and what life was before this was an illusion if that makes sense.Life as we have known it could completely change permanently from here on,This could very well be the straw that breaks the back of this overly populated out of control world.I feel I am mentally prepared for the worst, maybe not prepared in any other way. I don’t want anyone to suffer and I don’t want to either but from what I have seen of this world for my whole life that suffering is a large part of life and it doesn’t necessarily only happen in other places you see on the news, it can and probably will happen right here in our own realities.

James Killian, LPC - April 11, 2020 Reply

There has been a lot of discussion about anxious people rejoicing and feeling a sense of validation given their history of hypervigilance and yet as someone who specializes in anxiety and works with anxiety, I have yet to see this. In fact, I’ve seen an increase. More interesting is the massive amount of anxiety witnessed in individuals who prior to this, demonstrated very little.

    Jonice - April 12, 2020 Reply

    Dear James, I do think that most people, and even most people with anxiety, are not feeling happier during the pandemic and lockdown. The folks feeling relieved are likely in the minority. This is indeed a very stressful, uncertain and challenging time for everybody. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Marie - April 11, 2020 Reply

I’ve been struggling with depression and so much internally directed anger for the death of my father. I have no idea how to get past it, and I realize I can’t go back in time and fix things. One of my ex’s fathers once told me that I was the type of person that would be unhappy doing nothing, and that long term relationship ended because the guy wanted to stay at home and raise a family, and I was dead set on advancing my career and moving to a different state and chasing my dream of becoming a research scientist/engineer. Go figure my drive for my career would be the thing to destroy my life these past few years.

My father was the main driving force behind my career choice — not that he forced it on me, but that he inspired me into it. He made me the person I am today. Now that he is gone, I am lost and don’t know what to do, fallen into a depression that is destroying my relationships and career. To get to where I am professionally, I made some very wrong choices between my career and my family, choosing my career without question. I was a studious, type A personality with a fire in my belly, but that flame has been extinguished for a bit now. That last family vacation before my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I decided to go give my first conference talk as a researcher instead. When I heard about his cancer, about him going through treatments, I stayed in my internship and job, instead of going home and spending time with him. But that was always an issue for me — I barely went home after I went to college at 16 — and in the moment, it felt like the right thing to do, but in hindsight, I know it wasn’t. I live in a different country than my family, so I didn’t visit much. My brother called me when my dad was in the hospital and he asked me to come home because this could be the last time I would see him. Sadly, it would be. He wasn’t very talkative or really like I remember him, but of the little he said, he managed to say how proud he was of my brother for the man he had become and how proud of my sister of the loving mother and woman she had become. He never said anything to me. The thing about his death was that I still am not convinced it should have happened the way it did — my dad didn’t die of cancer, he died of liver failure, and a piece of me is convinced I could have done something to change that. My family is in Puerto Rico, and just before Hurricane Maria hit, he was diagnosed with cancer; esophageal cancer. The irony there is that my grandmother died of colon cancer. My dad fought his cancer, and we were even told that he was likely to be in remission, and was to do a surgery to remove the areas where the tumor was as the last step, but he would never get to that surgery. Maria had destroyed the island and suddenly it was hard to get medical attention. My dad got ill, and it took him making himself dehydrated on purpose to be admitted to a hospital. Being the the states, I spent an exorbitant amount of time pleading him to come to the states for care, but his insurance would not cover him in the states and he didn’t want to leave our family behind in Puerto Rico in the way it was. I remember getting angry with my mom and dad because I was trying to make plans to pull them out of Puerto Rico and I felt like I was being strung along being told, “after this next doctor visit”. over and over. I remember one of the last things I told my dad was in anger about how I wasn’t going to let him die in Puerto Rico. I spent so much energy trying to get him state side, but it became clear that he wasn’t in condition to fly when I came to visit home when my brother realized my dad was on his death bed. I felt they should have left before the hurricane season with dad being ill, but who was to know that hurricane would cause the island to be destroyed for well over a year? I regret not spending more time with him, not going on that last family vacation, not coming home sooner when he got ill. I wasn’t there. I am resented for that in my family too, and my brother was not shy about it, sending me a nasty text after I had returned stateside about how I was not there when things were bad with my family and other berating things. I assume it is a shared sentiment at some level with my mom and sister, but they would never say such things so bluntly to me like my brother. It has been a while since Maria, but the descent into this depression was slow enough I didn’t notice it much until this year. I tried some things to try to fix this, like taking up a clean diet and exercise, a specialized nurse that could prescribe and tried several drugs, my employee assistance program councilor, and I even donated my hair — all of it — to a cancer charity that makes wigs for kids. I thought shaving my head would be cathartic, but it wasn’t. I thought the donation would make the guilt go away, but it didn’t. I saw a medical professional and took medication for a little and while the drugs might have helped at some point, I felt like my relationship with the medical professional was a shallow one, but living in a small town without choices, I can’t really see much of anyone else without making it a 2 or 4 hour drive. Then there is this desire to join the Army, just like my father, and having this sense of duty, which considering the fact that I have taken anti-depression and ADHD medications as an adult, I have been told it would disqualify me, but a little piece of me still wants the chance to try for the Army Reserves regardless, so I am really trying to not go back on the medications. I am unsure how to fix a situation I caused with my own selfish actions towards a person no long alive….how do you say sorry to the dead? How do you move on from something like this?

My manager sat me down with HR and told me to shape up or risk being fired earlier this year, and suddenly I started to cry, feeling what was left of my world starting to come down on me, making a bad situation even more uncomfortable. I ran off fear of being fired for a little and tried to appease the folks at work, but my drive is completely gone and the fear can only fuel me for so long before the apathy takes over again it seems. I thought for a while it was just burnout, but I am now thinking this is something way deeper than work causing me issues at work; it is just spilling into work.

When the pandemic started, the world finally came to a standstill, and with it for a short moment, I did too, and it suddenly felt like a relief. Like life hit the pause button, and I can finally try to catch up. My roommates are losing their minds with the isolation, but my life hasn’t changed one bit beyond not driving to and from work. You never realize how isolated you are until a pandemic hits and you are unaffected. I am alone and suffering, the disconnection of family and happiness and now the rest of the world is feeling it too.

    Jonice - April 12, 2020 Reply

    Dear Maria, thanks for sharing your story. Please know that since we cannot change the past, we must get some new perspective on it. For this, you will need help. I strongly encourage you to find a good therapist near you and talk all this through. Sitting alone with regret and guilt and loss is not good for you at all.

F. George - April 10, 2020 Reply

This has been a hard time. I am a total and complete miserable failure. This week I cut my employee salaries. I blamed it on covids but really I know it is because I am a failure. My business partner who is the founder of the company warned me many times over the years to be a better boss, treat people better, listen to others. I should have listened to him. I ran this company into the ground and I’m feeling bad about it. I’ve ruined many lives. I was a bad boss, hiring and firing too fast. Now that is off my chest, your sixth point above really hits home for me. I was feeling guilty about this but now I feel there is nothing I can do anyway because of the pandemic. Strangely I feel happier about all of this because of the virus. I was considering resigning and giving control back to our company and founder but now I realize it doesn’t matter. We need to be healthy. I cut salaries, I didn’t kill people like a virus. I scream and yell sometimes, I’m not that bad of a person. I deserve to be happy and successful whatever it takes.

    Jonice - April 11, 2020 Reply

    Dear F.G., I’m not so sure about the “whatever it takes” part of your last sentence there. You seem to be aware of your own issues, right? I encourage you to try your hardest to move away from flip-flopping between your view of yourself as either all-bad or not-so-bad. Instead, you could review the mistakes you have made (we all make them), take responsibility for them, learn from them, and then working tirelessly to change them going forward. This is how growth happens and it’s what makes humanity better. You can do it!

GWOR - April 10, 2020 Reply

Hi Jonice , really appreciate your individual attention and great heartfelt intentions to those of us who follow both the stories replies reaching out to each person as one .
I am noticing more about narcissism and any employer in a small company fears the day a narcissist sneaks in and snows the owners and immediately tries to take over the staff by strategically waiting it out and doing the calculus and calculating the time to spread his/her snakelike venom. The daily bite and the constriction can exhaust the rest of the staff into exhaustion catering to his/her childlike needs 24/7/365 .
I think back to the teeter- totter in our park as growing responsible children we not only played on it but settled childhood disagreements as we went up & down both looking for balance as our friendships now yes 60 years later are as sound as ever although hearing may be a casualty at times but email has saved and preserved our closeness . Everyone in the end took applied degrees in their area of interest and we seldom talk about our vocations we use our lessons of how we help and assist each other no matter what the topic is if only it is “ how are you doing” which says volumes of caring .

“Hiring A Narcissistic workplace wrecker and destroyer “
Our company hired a narcissist and he/she waited the time to establish his/her order .
And he /she did not choose those he /she could not control .We were now the enemy. No time for it we are all running a business to profit and prosper.

Now back to the teeter-totter ( T-T) of balance. As a narcissist he/she moved from side to side controlling the arc but never allowing final balance to come to rest always jumping off the as balance never came to rest never guilty always blaming others seamlessly into feeling pity he/she had to endure us . Someone sure left the cake out looking back.
In the end the narcissist destroyed the organization but what brought it to a head was when he/she felt trapped and played both sides of the ( T-T) one too many times not realizing the (T-T) was coming into balance ( rest) just talking and talking incessantly as THEN he/she had no place to hide at the fulcrum of balance . My response was “ so this is really who you are” . The war drums started .
Although it cost me my job and 15 years of my pension it was worth it to say “ so this is who you really are”. Because at balance all is equal and in order as the moment of no motion there is order and like a justice/ verdict is being given and it is only the perpetual disorder and the control and keeping everything and everybody upended in a state of randomness in his/ her controlled motion that finally revealed who this person really is .

A narcissist can not be cornered under any any circumstances and when the T-T came to rest at Balance he/she knew the game was up . Caught !
Although my reputation was ruined within that industry I easily moved to another having the applied education and successfully made a new life for my family and moved away because distance can be like a drug to put it all in the recycle box by the curb next to the garbage and let the region burn it under controlled environmental safety and standards .
Best Jonice and as you can see, feel, hear in our words it is great to reach out and know we are not alone and no matter our age, conditions ,state of repair etc. it is an education to learn from all the responses you individually give to one as a whole in one being a perfect # like an Ace in golf to put on one’s score to score to recovery birdies .pars beat bogeys and on bogey days we have the aces, birdies and pars to reflect on going forward as wins no matter what the score and part of day to day living . And the ups and downs of the ( T-T) controlling when we bring it to rest and put order before someone else’s constant controlling disorder was in charge .
Thank- you Jonice – GWOR

    Jonice - April 10, 2020 Reply

    It takes such courage to stand up to a destructive, narcissistic boss. Thanks for sharing that story, GWOR.

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