Dealing with social challenges
So, what does this mean for us as we move forward in the wake of Covid-19? Therefore, we must examine the social and economic institutions that underpin how we live, work, and play for a lengthy period of time with a critical eye. It means that we must examine why there are such large disparities in wealth between the haves and the have-nots, as well as why minority racial and ethnic groups continue to be marginalized after decades of efforts.
It is important to note that these are social issues rather than biological ones. Furthermore, social problems are more difficult to address and deal with. In the meantime, Covid-19 should provide us with the motivation to keep working until we have completely restructured our world so that there are no health haves and have-nots, and that we are investing in the forces – such as safe housing, good schools, livable wages, gender equity, clean air, drinkable water, and a fair economy – that contribute to the creation of a healthier society.
In my own life, I have frequently discovered that it is the most challenging situations that provide the most opportunity for growth.
The global mental heath crisis
The current global health crisis also serves as a reminder that anything that affects the human family must be addressed by everyone on the planet. The solution to this challenge, as well as to many other issues, particularly those relating to the environment, is dependent on international cooperation. Let us keep in mind that we are all connected if mankind is to survive and grow.
In the wake of the epidemic, the most crucial lesson for mental health professionals is this: how vital is it for our mental health to have face-to-face interaction, the ability to touch others, and the ability to be in close proximity to others without any barriers?
The fallacy of a virtual community
We’ve all fantasized about how much more comfortable it would be to work from home and spend the entire day in our most comfortable clothes. If we were feeling overwhelmed, we might have dreamt about spending time alone on a beautiful hideaway in the wilderness. It never occurred to us, though, how isolated we would feel when we couldn’t see someone’s entire facial expression because it was hidden by a mask, or how alienating it may seem to pass through a crowd of masked people and not be able to determine which ones are reacting with pleasure to our presence.
Our necessity for frequent face-to-face engagement with all humans as a crucial component of healthy mental health has been underlined as a result of the pandemic’s longer remote work and detachment from others. Whenever we engage in our daily rituals, such as small discussion with neighbors or a casual hug while greeting a friend, we thrive… If we learn from the pandemic experience, we will create more opportunities for daily face-to-face interactions and abandon the idea of living a largely virtual life. This is because our physical interactions with other people affirm our existence, our humanity, and our interdependence on one another, as well as our interdependence on the environment.
We need to belong
Having a strong sense of belonging to our friends is one of the most important predictors of our physical health and mental well-being, and loneliness is extremely harmful to our health on a physiological level.
Truth be told, loneliness has nothing to do with the number of friends we have or how often we see or speak to each other, and has much more to do with our subjective sense of feeling connected and seen for who we truly are than with any of those things. It has been proven that the more we can embrace vulnerability by sharing our struggles and successes, hold space for our friends’ feelings without imposing our own, and make an effort to prioritize our friendships in the same way we prioritize our other relationships and responsibilities, the closer we will feel and the better we will be able to distinguish between being alone and feeling lonely.
After being questioned about the flaws that he had identified, Correll recommended that “we should be shaking things up a little more. Everyone should have friends who are both black and white, Middle Eastern and Latino, and every other race and ethnicity imaginable. If the dominant group is multi-ethnic, you become accustomed to seeing many kinds of faces, and no one group stands out.”
Being comfortable with change
Researchers at LeDoux’s group point to a phenomenon that has to do with uncertainty: agency, which refers to your ability to exercise your own influence on your surroundings. “The world is what you make of it,” Moscarello states succinctly. “Ultimately, your emotional consequences are determined by your belief in your own agency,” says the author. He goes on to say that believing that you have little control over your own life can lead to depression, whereas believing that you have a voice and can change a situation can lead to positive thoughts about one’s self.
To be sure, rather than frantically clinging to control and certainty, one could, in the words of University of Pittsburgh sociologist Kerr, “learn to have a degree of acceptance around uncertainty and ambiguity, learn to feel comfortable with change, and seek to understand things you may be afraid of instead of withdrawing from them.”
Is Religion whipping up people to kill?
Pyszczynski, of the University of Colorado, has developed a theory that is linked to this. One day, he began to wonder why faiths that promoted love and compassion as essential values seemed to be “whipping up people to kill” at the same time that they were teaching love and compassion.
Thus, he began conducting research in which both American fundamentalist Christians and Iranian Shiite Muslims were reminded of the compassion ideals espoused by their respective sacred scriptures, such as “love thy enemy” and “turn the other cheek.”
As he explains, “We discovered that reminding individuals of mortality often boosted anger and the desire to attack the opposing party.” The death reminders, when mixed with humane principles, had the opposite impact, leading Americans to have less enmity against Iran and Iranians to have less hostility toward the United States – and less support for terrorist acts to prevent Americans from crossing the border.
The adverse influence of negativity
As a result, if people alter their cultural inputs, their cultural outputs will alter as well. Take, for example, the instance of Senko’s father. He and his wife eventually relocated to a senior living complex. It was during the transfer that his radio stopped working, and when they replaced the old television with a new one, his wife programmed the remote controls. They were so difficult to understand that her spouse didn’t bother to try to figure them out himself.
Subsequently, she removed him from all of his conservative mailing lists, which he had subscribed to. As Senko describes, “he started leveling down and returning to much of who he had been before, including his old ideas,” after 15 years spent watching her father’s radical wrath.
However, none of this should be taken to imply that we should entirely disconnect from the outside world, live in denial of the difficulties we face, or tolerate terrorism, murder, racism, sexism, poverty, human rights violations, and all of the other issues that plague our globe. One incident of any of these is considered excessive. In addition, it does not take away from the fact that technology has made it feasible for an individual, group, or nation to unleash widespread devastation and death.
Striking a balance
The purpose, on the other hand, is to distinguish between genuine dangers and fabricated ones. Moreover, we must strike a balance in which we are not so terrified that we make poor judgments that endanger our lives and our freedom but are not so unconcerned that we do not take necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe.
If we are to handle the very real and numerous problems that face our country and the world today, we must do it without fear or anxiety, but rather with our heads clear and a sense of compassion for everyone, not just those who look like us or agree with us, as we have done in the past.
The fact of the matter is that anything could happen in the future. That can be very exciting for some people. That can be frightening for some people. While both groups are striving for a better world in the future, only one of them can be content in the present.