26 Jan The Other Side of COVID: Isolation, Social Media Connectivity, and Mental Health Repercussions
According to the United States National Institute of Health, The US Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization, waiting for us on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic is the impact it has had on increasing anxiety and stirring panic, as well as the effects on the spread of (accurate and inaccurate) information, hoarding, major depressive disorder, and, their biggest concern, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Essentially, the institutions responsible for keeping our citizens safe and establishing guidelines for safeguarding public health, have been saying since the beginning, throughout the pandemic, and are continuing to say, “WE ARE IN TROUBLE”. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151248/)
Their directives could be summarized as “RUN FOR THE HILLS! PEOPLE ARE DYING!”
Yes, hindsight is 20-20. However, the perspective offered here is not meant to point fingers and criticize past actions. Rather, this article serves as a suggestion that we, as the people of the world, and the institutions responsible for the safety of the world adjust the message.
Why were the powers that be focusing their messaging on the prospect of extreme illness and death, rather than using this as an opportunity to teach people how to live healthier and thrive?
It’s true that COVID-19 is highly contagious and particularly pernicious. And, it’s true that our system is built to fight and withstand viruses. There are also proven methods to boost one’s natural ability to fight off viruses and heal.
Fear, anxiety, and stress, while great motivators, are also rampant killers. Study after study after study has shown the negative effects high levels of anxiety and stress have on our health. Yet, our chosen method of disseminating information is to use these very same “killers” as our primary messengers.
Institutions could have said, “Here are the steps you can take as precautions to boost your body’s immunity. If you do contract COVID-19, help is available for you and your immune system to overcome the virus and for you to return to your life. Numbers show that the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 get better, and heal.”
This messaging, while acknowledging the virus, would have done more to quell the panic, thus reducing the stress and anxiety which has long been recognized to adversely affect our immune systems.
The Role of Social Media In Connection
Connecting with other people has long been a fundamental part of our animal and survival instincts. Before, 100,000 years ago, being connected with a group of humans (tribe) was essential for survival. Humans living alone in the wilderness most often did not survive long.
Given where we came from, it is natural for us to have both an unconscious and subconscious drive to “fit in”. It is a “survival thing”.
But, let’s take a moment to bring this into a greater awareness. Our modern society has an issue, stemming from our tendency to address connection, or lack thereof, through an unconscious and subconscious fear-based lens. The survival mechanism that drives our behavior is archaic and no longer relevant in today’s world, yet we still allow it to govern us on an instinctual level.
When we live this way, allowing fear to manage our connections with other human beings, we are allowing the “killers” (fear, anxiety, and stress) to be a primary factor in our relationships, and our health.
Because our need for connection has stayed below our awareness (conscious = awareness), it is perfectly natural for us to feel unsafe, uneasy, and uncomfortable when we are forced to be isolated, as we were during the various phases of lockdowns and restrictions over the last two years.
We use the responses of others – those we want to be connected with – as the measure for how well (or poorly) we are connected within our “tribe”. This requires us to rely on external validation from the “connectees” – those with whom we would connect.
Because there is no widespread standard for the external validation process, this system is doomed to fail in most cases. In today’s society, external validation of being connected – “fitting in” – can be tracked by monitoring social media. Unfortunately, the social media connection falls short because it is inherently unable to resolve the survival instinctual need for connections in order to be safe and secure.
Social media validations of connections and fitting in do nothing to assure our survival. So, of course so many people are finding that their unconscious and subconscious are becoming more and more driven by anxiety and stress.
There is a simple solution for this. By creating an internal validation and reward system, we can replace the external validation and reward system (like social media). This shifts our focus to becoming the best version of ourselves, according to our own standards rather than based on the number of like, followers, and comments.
Thriving vs Surviving
Place your focus on thriving, rather than merely surviving. As a society, we have a much greater rate of survival today than any other time in our collective history. Given this knowledge, why are you allowing your unconscious and subconscious to spend so much time each day in the fight-flight-freeze-panic responses, thus wasting your valuable energetic and health resources?
Rather than losing yourself to worry, channel all the energy you have been using trying to connect, fit in, and be ok in a new direction. Let’s focus on thriving.
These five easy suggestions will help you immediately make the shift from survival mode into “thrival” mode.
Step One – Become conscious of why you want to connect. Recognize that connecting can be fun – it means nothing regarding your value as a person, whether or not you will survive today, and if you will be ok. If you are here reading this, you are ok. Stop worrying about it.
Step Two – Apply the message of Solomon – “Everything is Meaningless”. This is not to adopt a pessimistic view, but rather to not let external valuations and messaging define you. Develop an internal measurement and reward system for being the best version of yourself (according to you – not the “tribe”). Have a mentor or trusted advisor, who is not emotionally attached to you, help you with this.
Step Three – Consciously create more positive thoughts, behaviors, and actions than negative ones. Positive thoughts, behaviors, and actions are those which create and function from love.
Step Four – Be present while you are “doing”. Focus and enjoy what you are doing in the present moment. This becomes easier if you apply Step Three well. All love-based creations and functions are enjoyable.
Step Five – Accept, forgive, be grateful, and celebrate what happens in your life. This step can immediately boost you out of a fear or stress-based energy, and into thriving.
NeuroEmpowerment™ is a proprietary method which corrects mental, emotional, and spiritual issues at the same time it corrects physical issues directly associated with psychological function, thus alleviating the root of the problem, rather than treating the symptoms. This is the key for long-term optimal living and quality of life.
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