Using Strengths to Deal Sanely with Coronavirus

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Self Confidence | 2 comments

Angry driver, not using any strengths -- like kindness or perspective -- to deal with his stress
Using no strengths — like kindness or perspective — to deal with frustration.

My husband has just returned from the grocery store, where shelves were empty, people were tense and he waited in the checkout line for an hour.

It’s stressful out there.

As usual, I look to our character strengths, the foundation of positive psychology, for some insight. Here are several qualities I know we all possess, to some degree, and that might help us to deal sanely with coronavirus.

Open-mindedness and Perspective

Let’s keep our heads about us, shall we? Let’s not freak ourselves out too much unless/until the facts support it. We should listen to the experts but maybe not all day every day. We can look at the facts from all sides and be willing to change our minds when we get new information. 

Fairness and Kindness

We all deserve a fair chance to get everything from a free virus test to frozen chicken and hand sanitizer. We can see where shortages are in our communities and help out where we can, with donations or just sharing the toilet paper with the other folks at Costco. I think fairness extends to how we think about and treat our brothers and sisters across the globe, too. 


I know when there’s a shortage mentality going on around me I can pick up the energy and start thinking I should hoard. I’m working to control that and to keep the big picture in mind. As someone who works from home, I’m trying to make sure I do what I can to avoid blobbing out, too.


When not consumed with the bad news, let’s look for the good, like the woman who helped an elderly couple buy their groceries when they were afraid to go into the store. Let’s make good things happen for others, which is one of the most uplifting things we can do. And let’s hope for the best.


Our families, offices, schools and communities are looking for strong, sane leaders. If you can, be one.


All that said, be careful out there. Take sensible precautions when you’re healthy and if you get sick, stay home and follow your doctor’s advice. 

48 More Ideas

If you’d like more ideas for leveraging your greatest strengths in difficult times, here are 48!


Do you need kind, compassionate support to bounce back from a negative experience? If so, then get in touch with me now, and let’s make the most of your precious time, energy and love. 


  1. Nancy

    You have some great points and advice here, Kristen.

    This morning early I ventured out to get a few groceries anticipating there would be fewer people to share my air at 6:45 a.m. Kroeger wasn’t as empty as I’d expected but it was quiet and I could overhear conversations around me as I waited in the check out line.

    I count myself so fortunate when I realized how uncomplicated my life and responsibilities are compared to young moms working two jobs while their kids are not in school for the next three weeks; or I am not working double shifts like the older woman who checked me out and then help bag my groceries. I didn’t have to dig very deep to find and then offer my appreciation and a few encouraging words to those that were there supporting and serving me. We are in this together, but I am so aware that so many others are carrying most of the weight.

    • Kristen

      Hi Nancy,

      My heart also goes out to working parents — imagine having to figure out how to care for your kids at home while going to work. Or being told your job is on hold for a while; so many people can’t afford it. I’d love if you or others want to post ideas here for how to help parents like this.

      xo Kristen


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Kristen Carter

Kristen Carter, Certified coach, author, and breast cancer survivor. More

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