Published on April 08, 2021
By Ana Costa / James Brook
The COVID-19 pandemic has very sadly cost lives, jobs and freedom around the world. But has it also changed some aspects of life for the better?
Coronavirus brought us mindfulness, it has allowed us to slow down our pace of life and to appreciate what is truly important in our lives – our wellbeing, the people we love and want to spend time with, the outdoors, deep and meaningful conversation and our personal growth. We were reminded of the power of community, of how we are so interconnected and interdependent. This interconnectedness led us to care more for each other, the main ingredient of happiness.
2021 will be the year where people will put their physical and mental health in the first place. Due to the current health crisis and consequent lockdowns, mental and emotional wellbeing will be recognised as central for human health. Brand responsibility in supporting mental health will be fundamental for its success and survival, both from a customer perspective and also its employees, as people put their mental health and emotional wellbeing in their daily jobs high up on the agenda.
The last 12 months have been hard, which has led to levels of happiness globally decreasing and the rise of anxiety and grieving, specialists strongly advise people to engage in light, fun and enjoyable activities. A good laugh is truly advised not only to sustain sanity and wellbeing but also as an important source of increasing our physical health. Humour is resilience in the face of the current pandemics.
Despite all the sickness, death, unemployment, economic recession and financial meltdown, the virus also brought us some very important things that we will carry on with us as we move forward to a post-coronavirus future. Some of these things will strongly impact the future of the social and cultural landscape.
- We have got better at using technological tools.
- We realised that our planet is a single intertwined community.
- We have reduced our carbon footprint and got more ecologically mindful.
- We value the gift of good health.
- We value deep conversations and appreciate the simple ability to be with other people.
- We remember that there is no place like home.
- We have reconsidered our priorities in life and become more mindful.
2021 Mental health and psychological trends
One of the biggest emerging trends in 2021 and beyond will definitely be mental and emotional wellbeing. Over the next few years, it is highly likely that we will face a ‘mental health crisis’ due to the strains put on individual’s mental health over the last 12 months caused by things such as social distancing measures, social isolation, high levels of uncertainty and the burden of the homework and home-schooling. It is expected that the biggest increase in distress will occur among the younger generations, that suffered a huge disruption to their education and early adult life, and women, which have been massively affected by the greater strain of family care.
Unfortunately, only 3% of academic literature on coronavirus currently deals with the mental health effects. In a trends research conducted by the Global Web Index (GWI) to 8000 people across 7 countries, they have identified that, after physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing is a significant cause of concern among people, especially young generations. Particular susceptible, are people that already have mental health conditions, unemployed, people that spend more than 4 hours using social media, people that live with roommates or friends, people that work in hospitality and young women.
Image source: Global Web Index (GWI)
It is reported that in order to cope with the current situation and maintain their mental and emotional wellbeing, people have increased the time they spend listening to calming or relaxing music, time with family and loved ones (social distancing permitting), watching TV and have also spent more time reading books and magazines.
The GWI recently reported that 31% of people use social media as a source of help for their mental wellbeing, 21% use 1-to-1 counselling services and 19% online support forums, websites, and blogs.
According to the 2020 Ipsos Global Happiness Survey six in ten adults across 27 countries (63%) feel happy despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, year-over-year, the incidence of happiness shows significant shifts in many countries. Although Great Britain has been hit hard by the pandemic, including having some of the toughest lockdown measures seen, surprisingly it came out as one of the happiest countries surveyed (more than three out of four adults report being very happy or rather happy). Although, the levels of happiness decreased by 6 points compared with the year of 2019. Potential sources of happiness include good health and physical wellbeing (cited by 55% globally), the relationship with their partner (49%), their children (49%), feeling their life has meaning (48%) and their living conditions (45%). In Great Britain, friends are particularly important as a source of happiness.
In the pursuit of a great laugh
To fight the current anxiety, fear and loneliness, people are fiercely looking for happy, cheerful, and light moments. Humour is a true weapon against all of these factors and a great defence mechanism that helps us cope with overwhelming and unpredictable situations. It is scientifically proven that humour strengthens our immune system, improves our alertness, increases endorphin levels, lowers blood pressure, increases the production of t-cells, and helps the pituitary gland release its own suppressing opiates (relieving pain). Humour is also essential for our mental and emotional wellbeing. It puts things into perspective, reducing fear, comforting, and relaxing. Humour also facilitates and strengthens relationships.
When we create happy and funny memories, we create stronger relationships and remember more easily how others make us feel. This is exactly what we do when we apply our Relationship Memory modelã. Sometimes funny, occasionally provocative, and always engaging. We help our clients to raise awareness, gain recognition and build trust by following our Relationship Memory Model© to deliver consistent, emotive, creative communications that can be applied to their internal Employee Value Proposition or external brand communications.
Humour is resilience and currently, people need laughs and need comedians. To face the current pandemics, psychologists and health practitioners advise people to watch funny YouTube videos, movies, TV shows, and stand-up comedians, to read comic and humorous books, to tell jokes to each other’s and laugh about themselves.
So do yourself a favour today, make sure you have a good laugh and help someone else to laugh, the benefits are amazing!