Publicador de contenidos

Back to 20_07_02_EDU_opi_consecuencias

Elkin Luis, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology

Emotional and behavioral consequences of confinement

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:05:00 +0000 Posted in The Conversation

When the pandemic began, people were distributed along an emotional axis that ranged from extreme negative emotions such as fear to underestimating the likelihood of contracting the virus. The latter, experts call the optimistic bias.

The resulting latent emotional state, coupled with the overwhelming amount of information available, showed how felt emotions could make us more sensitive to the subject information we wanted to receive. Those with negative emotions were more sensitive to seek information congruent with the emotional state they were experiencing.

Reaction to fear

In a context of maximum uncertainty, where decision-makers were not entirely clear about what should be done, society made decisions and continues to do so today.

But how does it do this? Authors such as Kim Witte consider that when people feel fear and perceive that they can react, their behavior is oriented to face the threat; but if they feel ineffective or incompetent, defensive reactions increase.

Costs and benefits of an individual action

It is common for individuals, at the moment of optimizing their decisions, to seek precise and clear information regarding the costs and benefits of their individual and social actions. For example, when planning vacations in this summer of "covidnormality". People have had to make decisions with little or too much information and this has led to understanding the impact of individual responsibility on the whole in the framework of uncertainty, increasingly better tolerated and, at times, forgotten when getting used to it.

This pandemic has had an individual and social influence because it has allowed us to understand that, although there is uncertainty, people can, in the face of lack of control, make the decision to maintain control, even if they have few elements that allow them to do so.

Although some people tend to react defensively, others decide to exercise self-care behaviors: they protect themselves and thus protect their own and strangers, adapting to the new conditions. People became aware of the function of each part of society just at the moment when everything was in disarray.

Will the frenetic life end?

The pandemic has had a powerful impact on the ways in which we relate to each other. Some sociologists believe that the quarantine has led us to think about the unfeasibility of the frenetic life we led and has slowed us down.

On the contrary, positions such as that of the Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han consider that we will have greater pressure and impetus to produce in the face of the overwhelming skill , which will accelerate even the disappearance of our rites.

The pandemic could accelerate the elimination of some of them, others will modify them to the new conditions and others will solidify because they have been the result of years accompanying humanity. We will be more aware of the existence of times in the plural and we will forget the conception of time in the singular. Times will be determined by the space where we interact.

Face-to-face times are different from virtual times. For example, arriving ten minutes late to an online meeting implies greater desperation for our receiver. The same happens with classes: they must be done in a shorter time, and as a consequence the knowledge is transmitted in the form of video-pills.

A change in the perception of privacy

But it is not only the pandemic that has influenced the way we perceive the times, but also the way we understand intimacy and the way we build trust between people. In this line, people now tolerate better the fact that strangers perceive through the computer camera activities of their intimacy: we hear and see children screaming or wandering around the house of our teachers, bosses, executives, etc.

Intimacy is being established in the framework of new boundaries where people meet online in short spaces of time, and adapt their own face-to-face rituals, changing ways of greeting, using masks and exacerbating their micro-expressions to make clear what they want to say.

Another significant change is the way in which trust is established. In these months, some lucky ones have rejoined work, while the risk of contagion is still latent. To the extent that they see that those around them have acquired self-care habits, the trust they had in them will be strengthened, and will be another aspect to bear in mind when establishing new relationships.

However, confidence is also transferred to a larger dimension. This July, month in which the first mobilizations to second homes and national and international holiday destinations begin, Spain faces the challenge, not only economic, to save this season to tourism, but also to strengthen the brand Spain.

In this context, maintaining psychological balance is fundamental, as well as thinking that there is no single recipe for getting better and that probably the best way to get better is to become aware of the fact that you are unwell.

This involves recognizing and accepting one's emotional state and doing so can facilitate a plan for improvement. Meditation and mindfulness may be a strategy for some people. For others it may involve overthinking the complex status . In this case, it is probably best to allow yourself to engage in a distraction to reduce or activate your physiological state.

Expectations about our emotions

On the other hand, rethinking status is core topic. If one believes that one must remain well during the pandemic, one's expectations are absolutist and incite overgeneralizations: "I have never been able to," "I won't be able to," and so on. This facilitates emotions of guilt, shame or anger.

It is very positive to focus on self-care behaviors and the little things of the day that make you and your loved ones happy. Obsessing about being positive or happy can lead to the undesired effect of focusing on our own happiness and not on the happiness of those close to us, facilitating disconnection from interpersonal relationships, and developing states of frustration when we see that we have to be happy and we cannot.

Faced with the fear of resprouting

Finally, faced with the fear of a possible resurgence, it is necessary to reflect on how we have reacted during this quarantine, what have been those small or large successes and implement them until we perceive a certain illusion of control. In our history, we first alerted, prepared and then executed.

Let us remember that to the extent that people have clearer information about the survival of the virus on different surfaces, possible treatments or the vaccine, people will be more tolerant of the potential risk of contagion.