Exit restrictions and contact bans make it currently impossible to go about your normal everyday life: No game evenings with friends, no meetings in restaurants and many work in the home office. The Swedish psychologist Dan Katz, author of “Fear only cooks with water”, sees more than just negative things in the corona crisis. In times like these, it is important to display the right behavior and to recognize the positive effects of social coexistence, he explains in an interview with the news agency spot on news.
Above in the video: this is how you avoid infection!
The fear of the coronavirus is omnipresent. How do we manage to remain calm in this exceptional situation?
Dan Katz: It’s usually good to keep calm. But right now we’re living in an exceptional situation, so it’s not bad to be vigilant. A person who is not at all worried could now do things that put themselves and others in danger – for example, kissing and hugging friends in greeting or visiting the old and sick grandmother despite everything because it seems like you don’t have any Symptoms. On the other hand, if you are too scared, the brain no longer makes rational decisions.
So the best thing to do is to accept that this situation is worrying. It is not dangerous to be concerned, even if it is uncomfortable. It is important to correctly assess the situation, to take the authorities seriously and to follow their recommendations.
In order not to get into fear, one should focus on something else. The news should be followed, but not around the clock. The most important thing is to give your head some rest: watch a movie, exercise, play an instrument or talk to friends.
This is how a virologist assesses the current situation!
Virologist explains: “I advise calm vigilance”
How bad is it going to be? The renowned virologist Professor Hendrik Streeck emphasizes: Panic is not appropriate!
Why are so many people so anxious and start to panic?
To stock up on groceries and the like in these times is logical. After all, it’s safer to only go to the grocery store once a week rather than daily. But when we then see other people acting in a panic, we automatically start to panic too and let the situation carry us away. We are social beings and behave like herd animals: if one zebra starts to run, the others follow, even if there is no direct threat. And of course, in the case of scare tactics, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This can best be observed when buying toilet paper.
How should we react when we encounter panicked people, such as in the supermarket?
We should not react immediately if the danger is not directly facing us. We should be prepared for our brain to take us to the most primitive part: the reptilian brain, where the fear reactions start. If we notice that fear is gaining the upper hand, we should take a step back and calmly assess the situation. Because: Panic makes us react as quickly as possible, but not necessarily cleverly. So if you admit to being afraid or panicking, it is easier to tell that you are not being considered.
If someone else starts to panic, keep calm. We should then under no circumstances tell these people that they are stupid or that they are acting illogically. We should show them that we can understand their fear.
Washing hands properly is particularly important right now. You can find out how to do this in the video below.
Some have started hoarding food and other goods. Pasta and toilet paper in particular are in great demand. Should you speak to people who are currently shopping for their behavior?
It always depends on the situation and the person. Fearful people tend to be aggressive. Therefore, when we do decide to say something, be sure to be calm and nice – otherwise the other person could get angry very quickly. If it does, hold back!
Also, we shouldn’t take it for granted that people who buy a lot are selfish. Perhaps you have a large family with many children to look after.
Far-reaching exit restrictions now apply in this country. Staying home all day can be very frustrating. How should we deal with it?
This is very important: doing nothing, not having a regular daily routine and no longer doing sports is a surefire way to get into depression. That is why you should follow your usual daily routine, not just lie in bed, but find a routine. Get up early, get dressed, take care of your hygiene, eat regularly. And: do sports! When you can no longer go to the gym or the sports field, it is time to get inventive. At home you can, for example, start jumping rope or a home workout.
If you work at home, you should use normal working hours as a guide. And if you have nothing to do: how about a big cleaning job? Or they clear out the garage or learn a new language. Whenever you are feeling lonely, you should call your friends.
You really have to be careful because after a while your own brain can trick you. You could get so bored and frustrated that you suddenly think that security is easy to bypass. Our brain is always looking for instant relief and satisfaction.
Due to the isolation we lose personal contact with our fellow human beings. Does this possibly also change the way we treat one another?
That can develop into both good and bad. I cannot see my wife and stepson at the moment for health reasons. I miss her so much that it hurts. This situation makes us realize how important our loved ones are to us and that’s why I think when we finally meet again, we will appreciate the moments we shared a lot more.
But on the other hand, there is a higher risk of misunderstanding each other due to the isolation, for example only through chats. The situation is also an acid test for people who live together – especially when there is nothing to do. Therefore, we should definitely not start to question and evaluate our relationships in a crisis situation like this. We should be particularly considerate and tolerant of our loved ones at the moment.
In general, I see very encouraging signs for our social coexistence: neighbors help each other, people keep their distance, but smile at each other friendly. Now we may understand how much we need each other to survive. We also value the people who are researching a cure much more or the people who still go to work for the benefit of others: doctors, nurses or others whom we can now count on.
(sob / spot)