Pandemic and Psychology

Over the centuries, people have passed many tests…

Epidemics, which started with the Covid-19 virus these days and we can see many examples of in history, are a new threat faced by mankind as the end of the first quarter of the 21st century approaches.

Together, we experience what the “butterfly effect”, one of Lorenz’s Chaos theories, means. The butterfly effect is the name given to small changes in the initial data of a system that can have large and unpredictable results. The coronavirus, which was detected in the city of Wuhan in the People’s Republic of China, which is approximately 7 thousand km away from our country, turned into a pandemic problem within weeks.

While years ago we lived in a tribe, the largest of which was 100 people, in 2020 we are 7.5 billion people. However, as Yuval Harari points out, we got to the top of the food chain in such a short time that the limbic system, the primitive part of our brain, still doesn’t believe it.

We can access information from the other side of the world, and our limbic system seeks answers to these questions: “What happened, what happened, did it reach us, in which country, how many people, when, where did it come, who said what?”

Our primitive brain is about to go crazy in all this obscurity. The state of staying at home and the associated decrease in sociality, the anxiety felt by the disruption of our daily routine, the anxiety caused by uncertainty negatively affect our psychological well-being. The system doesn’t know what and which response to generate!

At the same time, social cohesion pressure begins. Asch’s experiment shows that; Social cohesion pressure half determines our decision making with free will and conscious awareness. The market is being looted, there will be no product left, if there is no new one, if I go hungry? Best of all, I’ll have those pastas too! We may suddenly find ourselves with pasta.

And the cars filled with toilet paper (which competes with pasta) and the question I hear often; Why Toilet Paper???

According to Doctor Steven Taylor, who teaches Clinical Psychology at the University of British Columbia; Feelings of disgust increase during epidemics when people are under threat of contagion. When the feeling of disgust increases, it is tried to be avoided. The feeling of disgust is like an alarm mechanism that warns people to avoid contamination/contamination. There is no better tool to get rid of ‘disgusting material’ than toilet paper. Thus, toilet paper became a symbol of conditioned security.

These days, it is as important to protect our mental health as it is to protect our physical health.

First of all, we must remain calm! We have to stop, think and organize.

As it is known, stress negatively affects our immune system. Cortisol is the body’s response to stress. As cortisol rises to high levels, anxiety, depression, and aggression increase.

In case of high stress, the immune system may weaken and invite diseases.

What we need to do is acknowledge that there is an epidemic, understand that a certain level of fear is normal, and explore what measures we can take to prevent it.

If you feel that you are in a state of intense anxiety and you think you cannot cope, do not hesitate to get support.

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