Living5 mental strategies to avoid coronavirus anxiety (and act...

5 mental strategies to avoid coronavirus anxiety (and act correctly)

Faced with the global challenge of curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, we are increasingly convinced that it will be necessary to change some of our personal habits, especially regarding the way we socialize with the people around us.

Its not that easy. First of all, there is a very difficult balance between acting responsibly and following the recommendations of the health authorities and succumbing to chaos and panic in “Save who can!” Mode. The actions that citizens are asked of us are for the collective good, to stop the curve of the epidemic and avoid the collapse of health, but other attitudes help little . For example, with supermarkets washed away and the situation of mass hysteria, many deliverers on line sales platforms complain about the heavy workload they have these days. They should also follow the recommendations, take care of their children without school or of themselves in case of symptoms. Think before you compulsively order how many of those things are first-hand needs and which are not.

You also have to avoid paying attention to hoaxes and messages spread by WhatsApp and social networks. It is better to turn to reliable sources and think that, yes, perhaps the self-containment criteria are varying, but it is that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is new and unknown until now, so, as we know more and learn from it example of other countries, we will be able to refine better in the preventive measures.

How can we prepare ourselves psychologically to change our habits without succumbing to panic?

An opinion piece published in The BMJOpinion by various researchers in the areas of psychology, public health, and health emergency response offers five “attitudinal change principles” to help us do this.

Create your own mental model

Knowing well the process of transmission of the virus and the ways in which this contagion route can be blocked gives us a solid foundation that justifies that extra sacrifice that we must make.

Create social norms

We are social animals, and therefore we care and motivate what others think of us. For example, one experiment showed that the more people in the lavatory in highway service areas, the more people washed their hands. For this reason, the campaigns disseminated in the media and also the pressure we put on our relatives and acquaintances are very important to help generalize the new norms and facilitate the task of adopting them.

Create the right type and level of emotions

In the end, it is the emotions that move us to act, but they are also a double-edged sword that can cause us to fall into anxiety and panic. A little bit of alarm is fine because it helps us get going, but we must combine the announcements that warn of the severity of the crisis with the recommendations that we can all follow to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens.

Replace one behavior with another

It is very difficult to stop touching our nose, mouth and the area around the eyes, but studies show that, on average, we touch our faces more than twenty times an hour, in largely automatic gestures that are difficult to stop. . What the authors suggest is that, instead of forbidding us to touch our faces, we try, for example, to always keep our hands below our shoulders. This action conflicts with touching the face and can be more effective.

Facilitate your new behaviors

The easier it is to adopt a new measure, the more likely it is that more people will adopt it simultaneously. For example, to be sure you always carry tissues in your pockets, try incorporating this check when you see if you carry house keys in your pocket.

And, remember, the more people take action and the more forceful they are, the easier it will be to stop the explosion of cases of those affected by the new coronavirus. Lucky!

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