Psychology Today: A Surprising Approach for Coping With COVID-19 Stress

Bron: Psychology Today

Datum: 22-10-20

Auteur: Raj Persaud, M.D. and Peter Bruggen, M.D.

Animals do not worry.

In that simple, perhaps controversial, statement lies the secret to coping with COVID.

The “animals do not worry” line comes from a revolutionary paper recently published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders which suggests mental health experts have been “barking up the wrong tree” when it comes to advising the public on how to cope with COVID.

Animals do experience stress, and this occurs, just as in humans, when they find themselves in danger. The fear or anxiety response, genetically built into our bodies, is evolutionarily ancient.

Even though it renders us upset, it’s designed to ensure we remain vigilant for danger, and so stay safe, and therefore alive. Panic meant we got away, fast, when a lion started bounding towards us, as ancient cavemen.

But wildlife doesn’t stalk us in modern life, instead, we confront social threat; a bullying boss, unemployment, social isolation, or marital discord.

Yet all these predicaments still trigger the ancient “fight or flight” escape response to physical peril. Escape from a bullying boss, or a virus, is no longer as simple as bolting, (though we wish it were).

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