How to Flourish During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Research from the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard, by Tyler VanderWeele

Blind Fear of Death Should Not Guide Policy, by Phil Lawler
March 25, 2020
Bishop Athanasius Schneider: “We Glory in Tribulations” – Living the Faith When Public Worship is Prohibited
March 25, 2020

Father with children playing under their backyard tent.

Our confrontation with suffering and death provides an important opportunity for reflection. What is it that we value most? What relationships need forgiveness or reconciliation? How should we understand our lives and our own mortality? Both empirical data and religious traditions show that, by engaging in such interior reflection, it can be possible to grow and flourish even amidst great suffering.

By Tyler VanderWeele, Public Discourse, March 24, 2020

The emergence and rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been threatening the world’s order, stability, and wellbeing. Many cities and countries are now under lockdown; many people have been infected, and many have died. The world’s economies are threatened.

To what extent is it possible to flourish amidst this pandemic?

There will inevitably be painful losses of health, of lives, of livelihoods, and of much that we hold dear. While we must do what we can to prevent or mitigate these, we must also accept that there will, despite our best efforts, still be terrible losses. We must prepare for these. However, we can also look for other ways to flourish, even during this time of uncertainty, difficulty, and loss. Doing so will better help us—on a personal and societal level—to overcome this crisis.

Our model of flourishing at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard acknowledges that health-related and economic aspects of life are central and important. Yet there are other important dimensions to flourishing as well: meaning and purpose, character and virtue, close social relationships, and happiness. We can still pursue these in various ways, even during these very difficult times. ….

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