Strengths-based actions to enhance wellbeing in the time of COVID-19




COVID-19 is truly an unprecedented event, forcing nearly four billion people into isolation, social distancing, and requiring people to rigorously follow public health measures such as frequent hand washing and indoor face-covering. People around the world have spent months staying home-bound, enduring significant financial, social, and emotional costs. They have been feeling anxious, irritable, afraid, and ambivalent in the wake of an invisible, pervasive, and potent pandemic. A strength focus can help us mitigate unwarranted or excessive negative emotions engendered by maintaining social distancing. This paper posits that by using our strengths, we can enhance our psychological immunity through pragmatic actions to enhance our daily wellbeing. More importantly, we can reframe and reappraise challenges to build perspective in dealing with global crises such as pandemics and disasters. Strengths expressed through pragmatic actions can boost our coping skills as well as enhance our wellbeing. Consistent with the zeitgeist of our times-equity, social justice, digital connections, the paper offers easily implemented, concrete actions using character strengths in adaptive ways to reduce the likelihood that social distancing will result in overwhelming anxiety, lack of structure or stimulation, and demoralization.


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Author Biography

Tayyab Rashid, University of Toronto Scarborough, CANADA

Dr. Tayyab Rashid is a licensed clinical and school psychologist and an Associate Faculty at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).  For more than 15 years, Dr. Rashid has worked with individuals experiencing complex mental health issues, especially with young adults from diverse cultural backgrounds and with trauma survivors. With expertise in positive clinical psychology, positive education, posttraumatic growth and multicultural counselling, Dr. Rashid has trained mental health professionals internationally. His work has been published in academic journals, included in textbooks of psychiatry and psychotherapy. His book Positive Psychotherapy (2018), along with Martin Seligman, has been translated in several languages. Dr. Rashid won the Outstanding Practitioner Award (2017) from the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and Chancellor Award (2018) from the University of Toronto.