Last May, I compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a tough marathon. I noticed that it wasn’t completely correct: when you’re running, no matter how difficult it may be, you know you’re done after 26.2 miles. But since the pandemic started two years ago, the finish line has been moving. Currently, super-contagious variants of Omicron are rampant nationwide. Hospitals and schools are overwhelming and even non-nurses and teachers may feel absolutely fried.
For some ideas on how to think about this latest stage of the pandemic, go to the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and traditional teachings and ancient wisdom.This is the idea behind the rationale, the idea I developed for my book Grounding practice, Instruction manual for developing internal strength and strength to keep you through ups and downs. If resilience is to bounce, grounding is to hold your ground and not be knocked down during difficulties or challenges.
If there was a time to prioritize these values, this winter would certainly be. The following principles may serve as a guide in the hope that (Knockwood) will be the last long winter of this pandemic.
A little less than five years ago, I was quite ill for eight months. I had a hard time spending more than two days in a row — often it seemed like two hours. During this time, my situation seemed to last forever. It was hard to see the escape route.
Looking back, it seems that the last eight months are not that long. My experience is not uncommon. According to neuroscience research, our perception of time is very slow when we are in the midst of a challenging experience. But looking back on those rewarding experiences, they seem to have passed very quickly.
This perceptual change occurs because every minute tends to be filled with miserable thoughts and feelings during difficult times. This is called “decompression of time” and it feels longer every minute because it slows down the processing of information when the brain feels threatened. But looking back at the difficult times, we remember them as a wider chunk of time, not as a frame-by-frame pain moment as we experienced. Thus, they don’t feel catastrophically long.
Yes, this winter you have to dig in and get ready to work hard, but if you can survive the long days, you can be comforted to know that this difficult time will not last forever. It’s important to do things one day at a time, just as a marathoner goes one mile at a time, step by step. It may feel long now, but in the end, at least according to science, the seasons will feel short.
Lower the bar
When things go wrong, we tend to fall into magical thoughts by default and are confident that we are in a better place than ourselves.Social scientists call this motivated reasoning, or our propensity. no To see things clearly, but instead as we want. The only problem is that when reality catches up with us, as always, a hangover can get rough.
Omicron Mental Health: Five Research Support Strategies to Deal with Another Severe Winter
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