The negative side effects of this pandemic are something mental health professionals are scrambling to address amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, especially as health resources are diverted to the most immediate concerns. For example, loneliness, stress, anger, fear, and doubt to name a few. There also seems to be something about fear that drives us to point the finger at others. When people react out of strong emotion, they can make quick, irrational choices.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to this outbreak on a daily basis can depend on your background, your personality, and the community you live in. People who may respond more strongly to the stress associated with COVID 19 include:
Older people and those with chronic diseases
Children and teens
People who are directly helping with the crisis
People who have mental health conditions
Social isolation can lead over thinking, to feeling lonely and stressed, which then lead to "fight-or-flight" stress signals and these signals negatively affect the function of the immune system. Simply put, people who feel lonely have less immunity and more inflammation than people who don’t. Another concerning side affect of this pandemic is that it is making many people harsher judges of the people within their social groups which is leading to arguments and misunderstandings. This is then resulting in unnecessary resentment where people are beginning to think on past grudges or harbor new ones.
Many people hold grudges over blatant personal disrespect or betrayal. Logically, they know that holding grudges hurts them more than the people they hold the grudge against. However, they can’t seem to shake the anger associated with it. Some grudges go back years and the majority of the conscious thoughts on an average day are just spent stewing in anger, another side affect of this crisis. Anger is actually a secondary emotion that is usually shielding hurt. Grudges are created from people breaking trust or not valuing loyalty in the way that was expected. This often leads the holder to doubt themselves. They trusted and they believed but it didn’t come to fruition. This is where the door to depression appears.
To walk away from this door, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that you are upset and emotionally wounded. Next reflect on what about it specifically hurt you and if with the help of meditation, prayer, self-help techniques it does not bring peace then acquire the guidance of a professional. If you do this without evidence based coaching or therapy then you risk the chance of yielding long-term and positive mental health results. Last but not least, I will leave you with this thought, thoughts are like pop-ups, the choice is yours to choose which thought you choose to give attention to, if any. Don’t believe everything you think. Do this by imagining your own mental spam and trash folder in your brain. Keep your thoughts organized and access only the one's you need for the day to be productive.
I believe there is no shame in learning to become a better person, so don’t fall for the false appearance of shame associated with asking for mental health help. You may thank your future self for doing so.
Wishing you and your loved ones a life of passion, confidence and peace.