Not surprisingly, the stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on people’s mental and physical health. Public health and racial justice challenges also create opportunities.
According to a national survey released this spring by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), more than a third of Americans (36%) report that the coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health and more than half (59%) report it having a serious impact on their lives. daily. 19% reported having trouble sleeping, and one in four people (24%) said they had difficulty concentrating on other things due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Most adults were concerned about the negative effects of COVID-19 on their finances (57%) and nearly half were concerned about running out of food, medicine, and/or supplies. Two-thirds of Americans (68%) fear the coronavirus will have a long-term impact on the economy.
While COVID-19 and related concerns pose new stresses, the past is very present in the recent wave of high-profile horrific killings of African Americans, including by law enforcement, crystallizing awareness of the systemic racism that has been so prevalent throughout history United State.
Continuous news reports of the protests, initially littered with incidents of rioting/looting, and often harsh law enforcement responses, are sparking widespread angerSadness, frustration and fear. Taken together, the result for most people is a pit of uncertainty.
Uncertainty occurs when the ground we know, which looks seemingly right under our feet, changes, and things are in a flux where no one knows what will happen next or how things will go, and what the ‘new normal’ might look like when the dust settles .
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The human body is primed to respond to uncertainty because our brains are structured to assess potential threats/risks. In the face of uncertainty and unpredictability, our nervous systems are on high alert, preparing to respond by fighting, running away, or freezing.
Tragically, the polarization of attitudes related to both the coronavirus (reopening the economy fully versus moving forward more slowly and cautiously), issues of racial equality and police brutality is rapidly pouring into this sense of uncertainty and heightening emotion and anger. Social media and certain news outlets oversimplify the issues and amplify the louder and angry voices – adding to the experience of ‘threat’.
Crisis creates opportunity
A crisis can be any event or series of events that creates an unstable and threatening situation that affects an individual, family, group, community or the entire community. All crises share many specific characteristics which include: being unpredictable, producing high levels of uncertainty, worryand stress, and represent a threat (real or imagined) to those affected.
A crisis can revolve around a specific event such as an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, industrial accident, or terrorist attack. Crises can also be associated with any fundamental change in the events that make up the daily life of a person and his closest and important people.
Such conditions consist of life-altering situations and include everything from medical/public health emergencies, serious injuries, long-term illnesses, a crime Abuse, widespread general disturbance, loss of job/occupation and/or severe financial hardship, for active addiction that can no longer continue without treatment.
On a personal level, a crisis is a state of psychological imbalance (imbalance) that occurs when unusual events lead to extreme stress, challenge our perceptions of life as we know it, and cause us to become turbulent. As crises disrupt the familiar and thus comfort, this quicksand also creates rare and meaningful opportunities for growth and change.
Such opportunities may not have existed before, at least not in the conscious awareness of those caught in a crisis. But the tension and uncertainty of a situation can cast a shadow on our ability to see and take advantage of opportunities that arise.
The difference between despair and hope often lies in a change of perspective. The first principle of Buddhist psychology is that all phenomena are impermanent and ever-changing, yet we tend to relate to them as if they were permanent or ought to be permanent.