CORONAVIRUS A PSYCHOLOGICAL BATTLE
By Dr Peer Darakhshan Shah
The Conventional and most likely view of the COVID-19 outbreak is that it originated in Wuhan, China, near the most sophisticated Chinese Bio Weapon lab and then proceeded into the world from there, leaving people to guess whether it originated in the lab and leaked, Came from Bats or Snakes or Came from an exotic Meat market, Regardless of the source of the coronavirus, it can now be understood as a roadmap for future bioterrorism. The damage can be much greater than 9/11 and worldwide. Various studies are being undertaken by planners in North Korea, Tehran, Moscow, Beijing and desert caves throughout the Middle East. The extreme terrorist doctrine states that a deadly global pandemic could kill a large population and most importantly destroy the Economics, Govts and the technical infrastructures of the world’s most advanced economies. This attack of Coronavirus could be a strategic distraction for a larger military or political play. Todays’s Coronavirus provides a blue print for how effective a planned attack might be and considering this, we can assume that if the Coronavirus were a terrorist attack, it already would be, by far, the most effective act of Non-State terrorism in the history of the World.
THIS PANDEMIC & HUMAN LIVES; In a move that would have been unthinkable just months ago, quarantine and social distancing have now become commonplace globally as governments make concerted efforts to fight the spiralling Coronavirus outbreak. Working with leading influenza immunology researcher and university of Melbourne, Scientists were able to perform important analysis of the Immune System’s response to the disease. The Team were able to dissect the immune response leading to successful recovery from COVID-19 which might be the secret to finding an effective Vaccine- showing that even though COVID-19 is caused by a new Virus, in an otherwise healthy person, a robust immune response across different cell types was associated with clinical recovery, similar to what we see in Influenza. This is an incredible step forward in understanding what drives recovery of COVID-19!!!!!!!!!
People can use defined methods to understand the immune responses in larger COVID-19 Cohorts and also understand what’s lacking in those who have fatal outcomes. Gaining a greater understanding of the Immune System responds in mild cases is extremely important in the battle against Coronavirus.This Virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, for most people but can be severe in some cases, especially older adults and people with existing health problems. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks while those with more severe illness may need six weeks to recover. The measure which have seen citizens from US to India either encouraged or enforced to stay in their homes are deemed by Medical experts as necessary in reducing the spread of the Virus and stands the logical handling by the ruling Governments for its eradication.
TWIN APPROACH TO FIGHT THE CAUSE!! With the spread of the Virus, the battle has to be on both the medical and psychological fronts. We must shift our mindsets to avoid paranoia and prejudice. Outside the Hubie province, where Wuhan is located, the mortality rate is only 0.2% so far, while seasonal influenza has a death rate of 0.1%. This makes the new Virus closer to influenza than SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). SARS was spread by people after they developed symptoms like Fever- n Covas the new virus is officially known, appears to be sneakier and can spread from an infected person who shows no symptoms. This makes the Coronavirus harder to detect and easier to spread.
Social psychology tells us that in times of anxiety, people tend to conform and follow what others are doing, “My neighbous are stocking up on food; they know something, I don’t , so I am going to do the same”. The best way to stop such thinking is to be rational and then be deliberately pro social and think of others. Individual actions have collective impact. We are in this virus outbreak together and we stand or fall together. We must guard against ostracising healthcare workers, who are at the forefront of the fight against the virus. As the virus spreads widely, more people will be infected and need care. This means healthcare workers will be at greater risk. The Basic front in the Psychological battle against the virus lies in our own hearts and mindsets. Take responsibility of personal hygiene, wash hands, avoid touching your face, observe quarantine rules. Mask up if unwell and seek medical attention. Act responsibly and avoid panic behaviour like stock pilling food, masks or protective equipment.Doing so increases the chance of shortages for people who genuinely need the items. Do not shun or shame but be kind to all. Most of all, donot give in to paranoia or fear. Keep calm and carry on, because we are in it together. “Every dark cloud has silver lining and this is your chance to thicken that lining and take charge of your mental health so that you come out of this experience stronger”. A recent study from medical journal The Lancet notes that the psychological impact of quarantine can be great, resulting in a range of mental health concerns from anxiety and anger to sleep disturbances,depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Indeed, separate studies of quarantined patients of SARS, a previous coronavirus outbreak in 2003, found between 10% and 29% suffered PTSD. The Lancet’s report found mental health concerns could be inflamed by stressors associated with quarantine, such as infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, lack of information, financial loss and stigma associated with contracting the disease. That can be an issue not only for people with pre existing mental health concerns, but also those in seemingly good psychological health. ”Humans are social animals’s quot; professor Ian Hickie at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre told. "Prolonged quarantine or social isolation (without compensatory methods in place) will exacerbate anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness. For people without adequate resources, so-called disruption’s are catastrophes. The impact on their mental health will be awful. There is a prevailing belief that in any crisis you deal with the physical issues first, then the mental health issues much later. I challenge this view because we need the public to be robust mentally to deal with the challenges ahead, in concern to Coronavirus outbreak. Transparency is key throughout times of distress, so we should practice clear communication and disseminate updates regarding the virus and current protocols. However, as more and more people face the prospects of several weeks of quarantine or social distancing, individuals will also have to establish their own ways of preserving their mental health at home.
. Create a routine —Make a to-do of all the things you want to achieve each day to create a sense of normality and productivity in you
. Break up your day — Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your environment for different activities.
.Take care of your body — Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.
. Help others — If you’re not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you’re in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need by offering to run errands and collect supplies for them.
.Stay connected — Make the most of technology and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.
. Limit media intake — Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
. Prepare medical supplies —Asking your doctor for extended prescription supplies to tide you over for quarantine periods.
. Fight boredom — Make the most of catching up TV series, reading and exploring projects you have been putting off to beat boredom and stay mentally active.
. Focus on the positives — Amplify good news stories and honor caregivers working tirelessly to resolve the situation.
. Take one day at a time — Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.
“Stay in contact with people — virtually — engage in activities that give you pleasure and a sense of meaning, and do what you can to help others, which is a remarkable antidote to depression.
New reports about COVID-19 are becoming more widespread and are making some people anxious.
Here are some tips to help you manage your anxiety, put news reports in perspective and maintain a positive outlook.
1. Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that most people who contract
COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. Work is being done to help people who may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus, such as senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. As coverage increases, it's important to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones healthy.
2. Get the facts. It is helpful to adopt a more analytical approach as you follow news reports about the coronavirus.
3. Communicate with your children. Discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age-appropriate information. Parents can also help allay distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during this time. You may want to limit how much media they consume to help keep their anxiety in check.
4. Keep connected. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. You can maintain these connections without increasing your risk of getting the virus by talking on the phone, texting or chatting with people on social media platforms. Feel free to share useful information you find on government websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own anxiety.
5. Seek additional help. Individuals who feel an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness, or other prolonged reactions that adversely affect their job performance or interpersonal relationships should seek proper consultation from experienced hands in tackling their psycho issues. Psychologists and other appropriate mental health providers can help people deal with extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals to help them find constructive ways to manage adversity.
6. Persue Yoga/Meditation ; ‘ot;Yoga is a psychology—the whole practice helps us work with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and our minds, " When you get more confident and become more rooted in your sense of self and your center, you develop a healthy, balanced ego, where you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You become courageous, with high willpower. You’re not afraid of difficult conversations or situations around—you know you're still going to be OK at the end of the day as it is my self experience while going through Yoga crash course in 2016 and since followed which resulted in upliftof my inner and resulted in a soothened feel and that is why I recommend its breathing module can be practiced by any individual passing through any sort of distress.,simply staying at their respective places, particularly in fight with COVID-19 symptoms as this virus intiates attacking through lungs and develops complications.P An exercise for rejuvenation of cells brings out toxins from the body and moves you from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, or from flight-or-flight to rest-and-digest. You typically have less anxiety and enter a more relaxed state. As soon as you start breathing deeply, you slow down out of fight-or-flight and calm your nervous system.
7. As a mass anxiety about the Coronavirus has begun to spread, I wrote this post on the evolutionary dimensions of human propensity to over-interpret danger, and on the social, economic, and psychological risks posed by epidemic panic. My take at this time is that the global anxiety is disproportionate relative to the actual threat posed by the virus. Fear has escalated sharply in the past two weeks, and it has become difficult to offer reassuring news without conveying false hopes that may put vulnerable people at risk. But in these times of uncertainty, we also need to pause and celebrate some of the positive changes that have already occurred on an unprecedented scale. We are no longer inattentive to what matters. Illnesses and accidents always trigger a cascade of unexpected positive events. First, they tend to channel our attention toward things we usually take for granted. Paradoxically, it is not until things break down that we start appreciating them – or even remembering that they exist. The mass anxiety, extreme measures, and manic media coverage around the COVID-19 event have drastically restructured our attention toward many crucial features of our lives. We are now more mindful of our health and thankful for our bodies. We are reminded of all the vulnerable populations in our societies, and how much we care about them. We are more cognizant of, and grateful for the complex chains of production, supply, maintenance, and care without which our societies couldn’t exist. Most crucially, we are now reminded that we have, and that we are, a global society. Caring for one another is what allowed our species to survive and thrive against all odds. In remembering that our lives are intrinsically connected, and in taking note of the fragility of the world we took for granted, we are also reminded of how precious we are to one another. Cooperation is spreading on an unprecedented global scale. Before the panic around COVID-19 mobilized our attention, the Western world was already facing an epidemic of anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and rising uncertainty about the future. From politics gone mad to climate change, from the culture wars to the sex recession, new deaths of despair, and social media feeds exploiting our mental vulnerabilities, the symptoms of rampant individualism were already ravaging our lives. In many ways, the conditions for a global panic and mental health crisis were already in place. The COVID-19 epidemic is providing a timely antidote to all of this. As we are all focusing on what matters most, the vital importance of coordination and cooperation has become a reality again. On a much bigger scale, world governments are now coordinating preventive measures with a degree of cooperation never seen before. China has deployed doctors and public health experts to assist Italy with the ongoing crisis. Israelis and Palestinians are uniting to fight the epidemic. Governments around the world are implementing economic measures to assist the economically vulnerable. The global pandemic is expanding our psychology. Natural disasters typically bring people together and prompt spontaneous acts of solidarity among strangers. Psychology has always been humanity’s greatest challenge. At this point, most of us are already living in conditions of enforced slowness and distancing that are finally giving us the opportunity to work less, spend time with loved ones, and find the time to chat, read, play music, cook, go for long walks, and engage in all the pleasures we had forgotten to cultivate as we were chasing the futile goals of our accelerated, anxious lives. COVID-19 also reminded us that the very social fabric that once made us strong was broken, and is showing us the way to fix it. We are finding meaning and connections, even in isolation. Striking that balance between slowness and isolation will continue to be a challenge in the weeks to come. Yet staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days, given the findings in psychology research that positive emotions help us to undo the negative effects of stress .
There are a few really practical things you can do to foster positive emotions.
. Savour the small moments: Even during lockdown you still have many small moments to savour.
The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather then let them rush by on automatic pilot, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood and make you feel calm.
. Strengthen your connections: For those of us in family lockdown, now is the opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones. Take the time to have long conversations with them – all of these gestures promote closeness and also boost your oxytocin, which is a hormone that bonds people and also has a calming effect on your body. When your oxytocin levels spike they tell your body to switch off cortisol, the stress hormone.
. Look for the good in others: These types of crises can bring out both the worst and the best in human nature and i think that the best in human nature is rising to the coronavirus challenge.
Philanthropists are donating money to scientists to find a cure. Doctors and medical staff are working overtime to help sick patients. Neighbourhoods are putting together care packages for people who are sleeping rough. People are posting positive messages on social media. Friends from across the globe reaching out to each other. When we tune into these positive and pro-social aspects of the crisis, we are united in hope.
By tuning into these three silver linings, you can potentially change your brain chemistry and build up your energy stores to help you cope with the other aspects of your day that have been made more difficult. Taking charge of our mental health and capturing the small moments will help as we go further into the unknown, too. If we can foster positive emotions, the flow-on effects are well researched, and well documented. In fact, positive emotions are a key resource for us during the coronavirus crisis because they can do a number of things:
. Increase your resilience: Research has shown that when we experience positive emotions on the back of a stressful event, we bounce back more quickly and have a faster “cardiovascular recovery” time – our heart rate lowers and our blood pressure stabilises more quickly when we are able to be positive.
. Increase your immunity: a study where people were deliberately infected with the influenza virus and rhinovirus found that those people who had more positive emotions were more likely to fight off the symptoms. People low on positive emotions were 2.9 times more likely to contract a respiratory illness in this study.
. Make you think more clearly: the way we feel influences the way we think. Positive emotions boost our problem solving abilities as well as our judgment, decision-making, cognitive flexibility and creativity. Staying positive will help you and your kids to be better at solving all the little problems that are being thrown our way right now, such as figuring out new technology platforms for working (and schooling) from home.
“There is a time for everything under the sun… a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” It can be hard to accept that the most important and helpful thing we can do at this time is “STAY HOME”. But we are doing so to save lives and take care of one another. Refraining from embrace, like being thankful for air during an asthma attack, can make us deeply grateful for others. The time tough to feel in battle against coronavirus demands our psychological stability at large, thereby encompassing a world threat of lives to lower down.
Let us be grateful that troubled times have brought humanity together and in fight for Covid 19, let us all set our self protocol, supporting the Government directions of Lockdown and pledge for
“ STAY DISTANCED STAY SECURED” and have faith “The sun will rise again”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
An author is a Doctoral Scholar and can be mailed at;