The coronavirus pandemic affects not only the material world. It is no less dangerous for the psychological health of people, undermined by constant stress. How to cope with a state of uncertainty and confusion and cheer yourself up? We asked these questions to the director of the Center for Diagnostics and Counseling, the chief freelance psychologist in the educational system of the republic, Yana Zhebrun.
– Yana, let’s start, perhaps, from the very beginning. It is known that many different factors affect the mood of a person, including hormones. You can dwell on the latter in more detail.
– The mood of a person and his general emotional background change under the influence of internal and external factors. Psychophysiological and biochemical processes inside the body belong to internal ones, life situations and circumstances to which a person reacts belong to external ones. Mood can change under the influence of various hormones and neurotransmitters produced by the body. Endorphins and dopamines, for example, regulate positive emotions, serotonin calms, increasing confidence and emotional stability, and adrenaline, on the contrary, enhances anxiety and fear.
When our body reacts to a certain stimulus, psychophysiological reactions are triggered, leading to the manifestation of emotions. For example, I hear news about a potential threat or danger, my level of adrenaline rises – I feel anxious. Or I turn on my favorite movie, in anticipation of the upcoming viewing, the level of dopamine rises – I already feel joy, and my mood improves.
However, the same reactions can be triggered by internal stimuli – various chemicals and processes within the body, because of which a person begins to feel joy or sadness for no apparent reason. For example, hormonal disorders can lead to depressive conditions. Therefore, behind sudden changes and frequent mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness, apathy or depression, not always external causes or psychological problems may be hidden, but especially the health and functioning of the body.
On the other hand, it is a mistake to explain a person’s behavior, condition and mood solely as a result of physiological processes that he is not able to influence and control.
– Do you think it is necessary to restrict reading and viewing news today? After all, it is obvious that negative messages flowing in a stream on us daily affect our well-being.
– Now we are all in a state of some confusion and uncertainty. It’s really hard to even remember the last time something like this happened to us. No one has a finished script. Every day something changes, and it is so important now to be informed. But the abundance of information about the current situation in the world, changing every minute, sometimes does not leave time for your own thoughts and thoughts. And any difficult situation, especially the longer one, requires a person to slow down a little to analyze it, change it, or adapt it to it later.
Especially if you notice that watching news and programs causes you anxiety, tension, irritation or other negative reactions. For example, constantly flipping through the day of news feeds about the situation related to coronavirus, and choosing this topic as the only important one for discussion can significantly increase the level of stress not only for you, but also for your loved ones.
Completely excluding and ignoring the mass media is also not the best option, because being aware in these conditions is especially important, and a lack of information, on the contrary, can cause additional concern. You can select certain news channels that you will watch no more than two to three times a day, not allowing the information flow to completely capture all your attention and time. And, most importantly, these should be sources with verified information and official data.
– Now people do not have the opportunity to go for a walk, meet friends, go to the gym or to the movies. How can you cheer yourself up at home?
– To do this is quite simple. And at home, you can do your favorite things that are pleasant and enjoyable, or discover completely new hobbies and interests. Maybe right now there is an opportunity to pay attention and master what we once dreamed about, but did not dare to try. Internet opportunities are offered by many fascinating distance programs and hobby courses, virtual exhibitions and excursions, books and films.
Now there is a great chance to do something that previously did not have enough time. We can now pay more attention to our loved ones, find common joint activities and share our communication, warmth and care, which are usually not as many as we would like.
A good solution would be an alternative to the former familiar affairs. For example, you can meet friends and relatives using online applications or by phone. You can also maintain and maintain your physical activity at home. Think about how best to organize your workplace, making it more convenient and comfortable if you have to work remotely.
Indeed, we, unfortunately, cannot change or influence some things. There are certain restrictions, including those related to measures regarding the threat of the spread of coronavirus. Let’s try to treat these circumstances as life challenges that we have to accept and overcome. What is happening to us now is a new, valuable experience in our lives, and the current restrictive measures are temporary.
– Are there any psychological techniques for quick help yourself? For example, if a person often smiles and thinks about good, will this help to cope with a bad mood?
– Of course, the ability to notice positive moments in your life and the world around us always helps a person. But, unfortunately, most of the time, many people study what is bad in life, constantly checking themselves – is everything normal with them. Very often, we focus on errors and problems. And, indeed, they learn from mistakes and gain experience. But it is equally important to notice what else was and is in our life, besides problems, what else fills it, makes it rich and so valuable.
Each of us is now in a state of some anxiety in connection with the situation with the coronavirus. Feeling it is normal and natural, because we are faced with a situation that was previously unfamiliar to us. For many, it is now very difficult to keep calm and not panic.
If your emotional background starts to decline, something worries or depresses, try to look and analyze your condition and the situation around as if from the outside and evaluate it not from the point of view of problems, but of your capabilities.
First of all, how dangerous is this situation and is significant for me at this moment? What actions can I take now to make it less dangerous for myself, for my loved ones? Who else could help me? Try to remember, because in the past you probably already managed to overcome not such situations. What helped you then?
But if you feel that it is difficult emotionally and independently to cope with a particular situation, you can always seek psychological help and support. A qualified psychologist will help you overcome this difficult period – accept it as an invaluable gift, see your abilities even in a hopeless situation, discover stubbornness in yourself and live on.