Thankfully I wasn’t at Stanford University in 1989 when many of its buildings were severely damaged during what became known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Among the badly affected premises was the West Wing of Green library, where I’m writing this now, and also where I shut myself away for a couple of months last summer to write “Nudge Your Way to Happiness”.
I spent that time in the wonderfully-named “Gentleperson’s Reading Room” (below), a calm space in which it proved pleasingly easy to focus and be productive.
Interestingly, I was tracking my own well-being through this period, and looking back at my graph I see that although I wasn’t doing badly, I wasn’t exactly soaring either.
With the benefit of hindsight I think I was probably suffering from a lack of social connections, a problem that resolved itself once I finished writing and began getting together with friends again.
Ernest Hemingway grumbled, “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” Who are we to disagree?
In last summer’s case it was an overly focused approach to work that left me feeling isolated, but at other times during my life I’ve seen the same effect arising from having a low mood, and maybe you recognise this in yourself?
You feel rough so you shut yourself away, perhaps even blindly self-explaining it by imagining you’re actually “saving” others from having to be around your glumness.
Of course, the honest truth is that staying at home alone could leave you feeling even worse than you already were.
Our connections with others are vital, as we’re designed as social animals and fail to thrive when we have insufficient contact with others.
Perhaps it will be worth remembering this as you go about the next 24 hours.
Why not look for opportunities, even miniscule ones, to connect with people?
By the way, many Moodnudges readers did just that with me on Wednesday, voting for a cover for “Nudge Your Way to Happiness”.
Thanks to all who told me what they thought.
I’ll let you know the outcome on Sunday, so see you in a couple of days.