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How to Keep your Head When Others are Losing Theirs

Once the reserve of teenage girls, panic and mass hysteria has gone global. Previously unheard of in common-or-garden conversation, we are now familiar with terms such as;

Herd instinct: ‘an inclination in people or animals to behave or think like the majority.’

Herd immunity: ‘the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.’ But let’s not get started on the vaccination debate.

Much of the fear the world is experiencing is being triggered and spread through social media.

Panic buying, face masks, people on respirators, hospitals over spilling, the dead and dying, people mugged for toilet roll, fights breaking out at the supermarkets, fear of food shortages, shop keepers hiking prices, a world shortage of hand sanitiser. Sounds to me that the world is experiencing a shortage of sanity…

Anyway, there is evidence that the act of hoarding practical goods is a behavioural reaction to feelings of stress and uncertainty. If you’ve ever treated yourself to a little (or a big) something special to lift your mood, you’ll understand how it can make us feel better, but in times of global stress and uncertainty, rather than indulging in the latest fashion item or high tech gadget, consumers purchase practical products associated with problem-solving, like toilet rolls, bread, milk, disinfectant etc. which enhances their sense of control.

Control deprivation: ‘The act of not giving an individual their desires, wants and needs in a deliberate way to control that individual.’

Loss of control isn’t the same as being out of control or lacking self-discipline, it simply refers to the everyday experience of not being able to take the necessary action to help deal with a situation and produce the desired outcome.

Mass hysteria: ‘When a group of people believe they are suffering from a similar disease or ailment, sometimes referred to as mass psychogenic illness or epidemic hysteria.’

When we’re constantly worried, anxious and stressed our nervous systems are on high alert. Psychological and emotional tension translates into physical tension, which then gives us a sense of justification because of the feeling of being physically agitated.

Striking a balance.

In these unsettling times when the entire world seems to have gone into panic mode, finding balance is key to our emotional health, our survival and indeed our sanity. Of course, we need to heed the advice given by the specialists and take unprecedented precautions, but we also need to return to the centre after taking care of our basic needs.

What can you do to find balance right now? It helps to find ways to quiet our mind and body and find a sense of ease. For some this may be going for a walk, running or jogging, spending time outdoors, exercising, going for a drive, watching a movie or meditating,

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