When it comes to consolation in tough times, I find solace in many places, but none of these places is a religious text.
I've looked into religion, but it offers very little comfort to me - I cannot believe that there's a higher power that would have any concern about my day-to-day life and actions.
I'm confident in my power of self-determination, and I practice kindness and gratitude and seek out human connection - because science and reason tell me that these things are good for my wellbeing.
Science tells us that kindness has benefits for the giver, not just the receiver. In fact, kindness in everyday actions is also a little act of selfishness.
You'll do something nice for someone else - because it's nice, but also for the warm, fuzzy feeling that you get yourself.
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When you do kind things for others, you release serotonin in your brain, and this encourages you to continue to be kind - ultimately for the benefit of all humans.
Research tells us that people who practise gratitude are more kind and more generous.
A regular practice of gratitude can improve your mental health in just four weeks, and those benefits will last for twelve weeks.
Gratitude journaling (my preference), or writing letters of thanks, can also make you healthier and happier and make you less susceptible to 'burn out'.
Gratitude is also beneficial in social relationships.
Humans are wired to be social beings. We have a biological need to belong.
Science tells us that a sense of belonging increases motivation, health and happiness.
For you, this might mean belonging to a netball club, a brass band, a workplace, a Facebook group or even an organised religion.
I relish the connections I make through my work, through music and throughout the wonderful community of Horsham.
I believe that you get out of your community what you put in.
So, I try and be involved and active in my community and encourage others to do so - so that we can all benefit.
I don't need a God or Allah or L. Ron Hubbard to direct to me to do these things.
Science gives me the evidence, and reason - along with experience - tell me that they work for me.
If I ever need a guru - I turn to Shakespeare, Marcus Aurelius and Jane Austen.
But for now - I'm off to write a letter of gratitude to my friend for her kindness in making the effort to continue our ritual of daily walks (socially distanced of course!) which has kept me connected throughout the COVID19 restrictions.
- Brandi Galpin is a teacher.