Published 4/2/2020

Don't Block Happiness During Shelter-in-Place
Winnis Chiang

Stay home, save lives! During the COVID-19 pandemic, each of us can make things better or worse even when we shelter in place. After all, it might be a challenge to spend time with someone 24/7.

Couples and families in counseling always tell me how they argue about the littlest of things, and they don't like it. What they may not know is ... We all seek that elusive quality of “happiness.”

Here are somethings to be aware of so that you can STOP them from robbing your happiness anytime, not just when you have to shelter in place. These behaviors affect your daily interaction with people, at home, outside, or on the Internet. Remember your actions and words really matter!

1. Impressing others ... with what you have —your possessions, your accomplishments—don’t result in real relationship or lasting happiness.

2. Blaming. Your response to any situation is your choice. Try making it a learning opportunity—taking responsibility is empowering.

3. Controlling. It doesn't help you feel good about yourself. Honor your boundaries, but make space for others' needs and choices, too.

4. Criticizing. We are all unique and different, not better or worse. Appreciate the differences instead of zeroing in on shortcomings.

5. Whining. Complaining is ineffective, whereas asking for what you want is liberating.

6. Clinging to what is known. When you’re feeling afraid or insecure, be willing to let go of the familiar, take a risk and try something new.

7. Being Ungrateful. Stay aware of all the gifts, grace and blessings that you do have. Express gratitude then surely happiness will follow.

8. Lecturing. Another form of judging. Find more fun and empowering ways to share your knowledge.

9. Negative Self-talk. Train yourself to notice your mind's chatter. Working towards changing negative thoughts to positive ones will transform your life.

10. Fear. Don’t let fear get in the way of progress. Whatever you’ve been dreaming, get going on it. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Talking about clinging to what is known ... This pandemic is very terrible and it's normal for everyone to feel anxious, depressed, angry, afraid and lonely. Everyone needs understanding, support and encouragement from their friends and family during this difficult time. Besides, do you know this too sure shall pass?

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

Please feel free to visit my website for additional resources.

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Winnis Chiang

Winnis Chiang, LMFT and founder of, is passionate about helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and positively influence their American born children.