Happiness in Times of COVID-19


Today is the International Day of Happiness. Professor Ivo Ponocny from MU Department of Sustainability, Governance, and Methods is explaining that while there are things to worry about, we should choose to take positive actions that support our wellbeing and help others do the same:

“Today, March 20th, is marked as the International Day of Happiness by the United Nations. In times of the corona pandemic, we wouldn’t care too much. There are other things to bother about, we may think. And that’s true – but just to a certain extent. Isolated at home, some get lonely, while others feel imprisoned. Living closely together can raise conflicts, causing an already noticeable increase in domestic violence. Many of us, in our academic bubble, safely send pictures around, showing ourselves in our home office, in jogging pants, surrounded by cute cats. In contrast, other people have to work harder than ever while facing the risk of infection. People lacking relaxation space are driven away from public places, and countless people fear for their economic survival.

Fortunately for many of us, our individual risk of dying is still marginal. We will not even run out of toilet paper. Yes, there are things to worry about. Absolutely true. The tricky thing with fears, however, is that they tend to generalize, shift to other subjects or change into aggression. We should not stigmatize certain groups of people as walking life threats. (Well, particularly in Austria we should not cast the first stone.) But we shall support measures for those who are exposed to real danger.

A general recommendation for keeping up one’s wellbeing is to remember and make use of the good things in life. Even in times of crisis, a lot of things are left which please us and which help us get through our days. Well, we would not forget about all the electronic gadgets and entertainment options, anyway, but we should also be aware of our families and friends. Even if we are separated, we are still only a few mouse clicks or commands to a virtual assistant away from them. The time we save by not being as mobile as usual can be used to enjoy the things for which we have never found time before: to read what we have always wanted to read, to call the people we have wanted to call for so long time, to learn the things we have always wanted to learn – a language, a software, whatever new skill. That’s up to us. But make use of the time, either just to please yourself, or as an investment for later.

Time is always a gift, a resource, even if provided by corona. It is valuable. Don’t waste it.

And stay safe and healthy.”

Professor Ivo Ponocny´s current main research focus lies on quality-of-life - its drivers and assessment. His further research interests are social and environmental psychology, statistics in general, and the methodology of international educational studies such as PISA and PIAAC.


Related programs at MU:

MBA with a specialization in Sustainable Management and Governance
MSc in Sustainable Development, Management and Policy
Doctorate in Business and Socioeconomic Sciences