When you lose your job, it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions – worry, frustration, maybe even a bit of fear about the future. But it’s important to see this as a temporary setback, not a permanent defeat. Job loss, as tough as it is, can be a hidden opportunity for growth and new beginnings. 

In this article, HAPPINESS SQUAD Founder, Ashish Kothari, explores how the Sunflower Model of the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices can help you embrace change after a job loss. 

How to use your time after a job loss effectively

Ashish points out that in 2023, 1.6 million people lost their jobs in the US, and another 120,000 have been affected just in the first two months of 2024 alone. Losing a job can be frustrating, but what if your job loss might actually be the best thing that ever happened to you? 

There are many among us navigating this unplanned transition of job loss and wondering what to do next. This is the best time to reflect on what you really want from your career, to explore new paths you might not have considered before, and to build new skills that can open doors you never knew existed. 

For the record, it typically takes about 3 to 6 months on average to find a new job, but there are practices that can help you shorten that time. So how can you make the most of this time that you suddenly have?

We can use the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices: self-awareness, purpose, gratitude, mindfulness, mastering your emotions, fueling up with compassion, investing in your well-being, community, and intentional living. 

Self-awareness and Mastering Your Emotions

In the aftermath of job loss, the initial wave of shock and uncertainty can be overwhelming. This makes self-awareness a crucial first step in navigating this challenging time. After being laid off, you’re probably going through a range of different thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. 

This can cloud your judgment and hinder your ability to move forward. It’s important to step back and create a bit of distance between what you’re thinking, feeling, and fearing, so you can process them correctly. 

This detachment allows for a clearer perspective and a more rational approach to the situation. Be aware of these thoughts and beliefs. They will come up. Write them down and look for evidence that suggests these are not true. By doing so, you challenge the negative narratives and open up to new possibilities.

Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Well-being

Amidst the turmoil brought by job loss lies a hidden blessing — the gift of time. Ashish points out that usually, our work consumes 40 to 50 hours, if not more, of our productive capacity. Now, that’s a gift you have. So how can you make the most of this time you suddenly have? 

This unexpected pause in our usually hectic schedules opens a door to introspection and self-care, allowing us to reconnect with ourselves in ways we often neglect. We can embrace this period with gratitude, and turn to mindfulness as a powerful tool for healing and growth.

After a job loss, you might be thinking about jumping to the next job right away. But this is actually a wonderful time to start practicing meditation. Embarking on the journey of mindfulness begins with simple steps. The important thing is to start. By dedicating just a few minutes each day to meditation, we can significantly impact our well-being.

One of the simplest methods Ashish shares is sitting with our back straight, eyes closed, chin up, and lips slightly open. Then, focus on the breath, noticing it going in and out, and use it as a way to bring mindful attention. Count the number of times you’re breathing in and out, starting from 1, going all the way to 10, and then counting down from 10 to 1.

Distractions are a natural part of this process, but they too serve a purpose in our journey of mindfulness. When you notice you’re distracted, make that a part of the meditation. Don’t judge yourself for being distracted. Just bring the attention back to the breath and restart the count from 1 to 10. 

Through mindfulness, we learn to navigate our emotions with grace, understanding that we don’t have to suppress or act out our feelings.

Purpose and Intentional Living

Job loss can disorient our daily rhythm, but that void left by that absence can present a unique opportunity to realign with what truly matters. Meaning is one of the biggest drivers of flourishing. This is a great opportunity to find a job or a career that is meaningful for you, work that not only sustains you financially but also fulfills you personally.

As much as we sometimes hate our jobs, we appreciate the structure they provide. When we lose our job, that structure goes away, and we find ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. In these moments, the practice of living intentionally can be really helpful.

Intentional living involves consciously shaping your days and actions around your core values and goals. It’s about creating a new structure that’s aligned with your true goals. Every morning, set an intention for how you want to meet the world. You can choose to start with curiosity, kindness, mindfulness, or compassion, and move forward to a more meaningful career path.

Compassion and Community

In this interconnected world, the strength of your network can be a powerful ally in discovering new opportunities after a job loss. An interesting statistic you might not be aware of is that 70 to 80 percent of all hires are through referrals for jobs that are not even posted. It’s called the hidden job market. 

During this time, it’s crucial to nurture and expand your connections. Reconnect with your community, your friends, and your network. This is when it will really come in handy. Building a supportive community not only aids in your job search but also provides emotional support and a sense of belonging.

Parallel to building community is the nurturing of compassion, both towards others and oneself. In moments of self-doubt and emotional turmoil after job loss, don’t be too hard on yourself. You might be doubting your self-worth or fall into numbing ways of navigating difficult emotions in this moment. Practicing self-compassion can be a really powerful practice to lean on. 


When you lose your job, it’s normal to feel stressed and lost. But remember, this is a chance to take a deep breath and focus on yourself. This way, you can make better decisions about your next steps. Think of it as a tool to not only get through this tough time but also to prepare for the great opportunities ahead. 

Job loss, as tough as it is, can be a hidden opportunity for growth and new beginnings. In this article, HAPPINESS SQUAD Founder Ashish Kothari, explores how the Sunflower Model of the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices can help you embrace change after a job loss.  

Learn more about Ashish at his LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast with Ashish below.

Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

Visit the REWIRE Program powered up by the HAPPINESS SQUAD Community and experience your shift within your 30-day risk-free trial today. Cultivate your Self-Awareness, Gratitude, Purpose, Community, and personal growth more through the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices. Integrate simple and proven micro-practices grounded in the science of happiness and neuroscience of habit formation in 5 minutes a day.

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