February 29, 2024

Recent research has shown that adults in the United States experienced significant declines in life satisfaction, physical health, and financial stability in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there was no decline in character strengths such as promoting good in all circumstances and the ability to give up some happiness now for greater happiness later. This suggests that even in difficult times, people can focus on developing their character to thrive and flourish.

The article uses the example of Abraham Lincoln, who remained universally admired due to his character strengths such as honesty, even in the face of profound losses and depression. The focus on character and doing the right thing helped him shift his attention from personal happiness to the broader good of the nation. Similarly, people during the pandemic can focus on developing character strengths such as kindness to imagine and actualize their best possible self.

The Human Flourishing Program offers a free app with self-assessment tools to track well-being over time and research-backed activities to help improve them. The article suggests that even when people may not be completely happy, they can still flourish by focusing on developing character strengths and thriving in the most important aspects of life.

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