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I feel guilty for enjoying myself when the world is in chaos...

Dear Happiness Coach,

Lately, the world is getting me down. Every time I turn on the news it’s chaos and destruction. I want to be happy and enjoy myself but I feel guilty when there is so much pain in the world. What should I do?


Dear Desperate,

It’s true, there’s a lot of suffering in the world right now…and…there are many beautiful things happening. These two things can co-exist and this is where you can find relief in your own suffering.

In Positive Psychology this is called Grounded Optimism — the fact that two ends of the spectrum can exist at the same time and are not mutually exclusive. You can feel joy in a moment spent laughing with your daughter AND feel sad and anxious that there are wars going on in the world. Research shows that practicing grounded optimism helps to build resilience.

I would also suggest paying attention to your news consumption. Our brains are wired to notice negative events first, this is called the Negativity Bias. Try cutting back on time spent watching or reading the news, you can stay informed without going to excess. Instead, use the time to boost your wellbeing by taking a walk, reading a novel, connecting with a friend or any other activity that makes you feel better.

The world needs your love and laughter now more than ever.



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