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Seven Signs Your Psychological Health is Suffering

How COVID-19, election drama and economic woes are impacting our mindset

A frightful admission: When President Donald Trump was airlifted to the hospital to receive treatment for the coronavirus, the better part of me hoped his illness would be a transformative experience for him that could benefit us all. But another part of me (that’s hard to admit exists), thought his hospitalization was a fine irony.

Then I heard the canary. Historically, coal miners used canaries to warn them of life-threatening toxic gasses in the mines. It might be an overused cliché, but the metaphor is famous because the canaries gave their life to warn miners of impending danger. More than ever, we need to pay attention to the canary warning us when our psychological well-being and vitality are at risk.

My canary must have been German, for its warning came as the perfect word describing the danger befalling me -- schadenfreude, the pleasure derived from another person's misfortune (schaden means “harm” and freude means “delight”). I became aware that my response to Trump’s diagnosis was contrary to everything I’ve dedicated my career to studying and sharing -- the science of thriving.

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