The Power of Positivity During the Coronavirus Pandemic

3 min read  |  March 19, 2020  | 
Disponible en Español |

Insight from the experts:

The emotional impact of the viral pandemic is undeniable. We will all experience unwelcome changes in our activities of daily living routine that increasingly affects almost everything we do. And in the coming weeks, many will suffer the loss of loved ones to the disease.  It is important to remember that we are not alone in this crisis and that, although we may feel helpless, there is much we can do.

Finding a purpose and a meaning to this struggle will sustain our mental wellbeing.

Since the spread of COVID-19 started in December 2019, it has quickly become a progressively threatening public health menace that has claimed many lives and disrupted many others worldwide. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, we face a cascade of stressors, such as shortages of necessities, school closures, economic recession, unemployment, and the ever-present fear of serious illness or death in ourselves and our loved ones.

No one will be unaffected, and some people, especially those who are emotionally vulnerable, may show signs of irritability, anxiety, sadness, mood swings, anger, poor frustration tolerance, and disturbed sleep disturbance. This is a time for everyone to remain mindful of our mental wellbeing and to practice positive coping strategies.

Social distancing can be a stressful experience.

It is, however, far less difficult when people understand that we are not only safeguarding ourselves but also benefiting others, especially those who are susceptible, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised.

Quarantine is a historically validated measure of containing pandemics, such as leprosy, the plaque, and the Ebola outbreak. Although it may seem like “detention,” it is an affirmative preventive action that is available while waiting for the deployment of vaccines and treatments that are under investigation.

Our feelings towards others during this stressful time can be of great help as well.

Coming together as a community is a cornerstone in slowing the progress of the pandemic and in strengthening our resolve. Taking personal hygienic measures such as washing hands, coughing away from others into our elbows, eliminating unnecessary travel, and avoiding gatherings and eating in public places in groups, will be beneficial not only to blunt the infection but also a way of emphasizing our role as good citizens.

Our attitudes towards family, friends, neighbors, and strangers can be a meaningful way to cope with stress positively. As we further appreciate our duty to show concern and care for one another, starting with the simple public hygiene steps, we embrace our moral selves and seek a degree of gratification in knowing that we helped.

If you or someone you love is struggling, call the 24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). To make an appointment with the University of Miami Mental Health clinics, call 305-243-2301.

Dr. Mousa Botros is a Forensic Psychiatry Fellow at the University of Miami – Miller School of Medicine, and Dr. Spencer Eth is a professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and chief of mental health at the Miami VA. 

Tags: infectious disease

Continue Reading