The Atlantic Daily: Finding Happiness During a Pandemic

Finding happiness under fraught circumstances can be challenging. Our new column aims “to give you the tools you need to construct a life that feels whole and meaningful.”

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This prolonged period of social distancing may leave plenty of time for contemplation. Why not use this moment to take stock of your own emotional well-being?

Today, we’re launching a column to help you do just that: “How to Build a Life,” by Arthur C. Brooks, who teaches happiness at Harvard Business School (yes, really).

In his first dispatch, Arthur takes a mathematical approach, outlining three equations for a happy life—“equations that, in my opinion, you need to know to start managing your own happiness more proactively.” Start by studying them.

This column has been in the works for some time, but my hope is that launching it during the pandemic will help you leverage a contemplative mindset while you have the time to think about what matters most to you.
- Arthur C. Brooks

Bonus read: In 2016, our staff writer Joe Pinsker tried to answer a related question: Why are so many smart people unhappy?


What to read if … you are wondering what a drug to fight the coronavirus would look like:

My colleague Sarah Zhang offers a must-read analysis.

What to read if … you just want practical advice:

One question, answered: Is the wash/dry cycle long enough to sanitize my clothes?

Sarah responds:

In a word, yes! The coronavirus is not very good at surviving on porous surfaces (like clothes) and is especially bad at surviving in extremely hot and dry conditions (like the inside of your dryer). Don’t worry too much about the virus on clothing, unless you’re taking care of someone who is sick. If that’s the case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using gloves when handling laundry from a patient—as well as washing it in the warmest possible water and letting it dry completely. In general, heat and dryness are your friends here. You might also consider just letting dirty laundry sit for a few days.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved quarantine activity:

Dance like nobody’s watching (because, well … you know). Start with Céline Dion’s very weird hit “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” preferably with some dramatic lip-synching in front of the mirror.

What to read if … you’d like to read about something—anything—other than the coronavirus:

Millennials love astrology. Our writer wanted to know why.

View all of our stories related to the coronavirus outbreak here. Let us know if you have specific questions about the virus—or if you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us.

This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce, with help from Isabel Fattal, and edited by Shan Wang. Sign yourself up for The Daily here