Reports of anxiety, stress, and fear stretch from sea to shining sea as we enter the seventh month since the coronavirus was declared a global threat. It’s normal for mental health to take a blow under the circumstances, experts say, but there are good and bad ways to cope.
Research from the University of California at Santa Barbara notes that people find many different ways to deal with a pandemic. Some accept the situation, called acceptance-based coping, and make plans and look for distractions—think hobbies or work. This strategy also includes seeking emotional support from loved ones to mitigate loneliness and generate feelings of wellbeing.
Others practice positive framing, or looking for the small bits of good in a bad situation. People who use this tactic seem to have less depression and stress, the research found. Self-compassion is another positive way of dealing with the stress and frustrations facing Americans. This strategy is not easy for many people to adopt because it requires them to be as kind and understanding to themselves as they are to friends or family.
What doesn’t work? Venting—spouting negative or painful emotionsto others–was found to be an unhelpful strategy to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Behavior disengagement, or just giving up, was also a poor strategy for coping.
The bottom line is to realize that a sense of wellbeing in this challenging time takes work.
- What are some small activities or events that can bring you moments of joy?
- Why do you think venting negative feelings can be counterproductive?
- What strategies can you use to ensure you do not disengage from classwork and other responsibilities?
From The Current