A Crisis Is a Terrible Time to Re-Prioritize
The only epiphany you need to have in a crisis is that you deserve to be happy
Your life is in flux, whether you like it or not. Over the last several months, successive lockdowns have pulled the rug from beneath our feet, plunging our work, professional, and even romantic lives into chaos. In response, some of us have fought back, trying to exercise some modicum of control ourselves via a seismic life change.
In the spring and early summer, couples moved in together long before they’d planned to; extraordinary numbers of people relocated suddenly; and professionals had come-to-Jesus moments of wanting to pursue different, maybe more meaningful or personally significant, careers. Now, in this “Great Pause” (so we thought), we finally understood what was really important. Or had we?
But the pandemic doesn’t need to be an excuse to turn your life upside down. In fact, it might be the worst possible time to do so. Here’s why, and what to do instead:
You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond
The most important practice in Stoic philosophy can guide us through the age of coronavirus
Stress impairs decision-making
There are many reasons why right now may not be the best moment to quit your job, leave your marriage, move to a new part of the country, or commit to any other number of big changes. Making rash decisions in a time of crisis can result in disappointing outcomes, without actually doing much to wrest back control.
A 2012 study from the Association for Psychological Science found that people under stress made different (and often worse) decisions, placing more weight on the upsides of the situation they were considering while ignoring the downsides. They might, for instance, downplay the costs of a new job’s intense commute and focus instead on the increased salary, or think about how liberated they’d feel if they quit their job while overlooking the financial instability they’d open themselves up to.
According to the researchers, when the brain is under stress, it’s flooded with a cocktail of…