Interestingly, Dr. Masten compares the psychological and emotional impact of COVID-19 to a trauma reaction not too different from the impact of a natural disaster or being in a war zone. Triggers for the trauma reaction might include tv images of overwhelmed hospitals/emergency rooms, supply or food shortages, or hearing about people who have been infected or have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus.
Dr. Masten suggests that it is possible for everyone to grow in resilient thinking and behaving with conscious effort and support from others. She mentions how watching the news too much can lessen our ability to be resilient and may even impact our children. On the flip side, she believes that the challenges we are now facing can bring about resilience and mobilization in the form of personal growth and action behaviors, such as connecting more with people and helping others (grocery shopping, making masks for others).
It can be exhausting and upsetting to live with uncertainties, changes, and losses resulting from a virus pandemic that is invisible and not understood well enough. All of us have experienced changes, losses, burdens, and instabilities that are largely beyond our control and we don’t know how long it will continue. What can we do about it? Dr. Masten recommends being aware of how you are feeling and doing- and to guard against depletion. It is helpful to consider strategies to “replenish and restore” your capacity to be resilient. Another recommendation is to manage your feelings, behavior, attention, thoughts so that you are able to be more resilient. So for example, going for a walk or listening to music can calm your mind and anxieties so that you are able to be more resilient.
Here's Dr. Masten's talk on Resilience:
If you or a loved one need help fostering resilience and handling the psychological and emotional effects in response to COVID-19, I offer teletherapy services. I especially invite those who have/have had depression and anxiety concerns in the past to reach out, as this can be an especially challenging time.
<3 Be well ! - Dr. Soo Hoo
All blog posts from Dr. Soo Hoo are provided for educational and informational purposes only. As Dr. Soo Hoo is a licensed clinical and health psychologist, we must make it clear that nothing on the blog is intended to constitute medical or psychological advice, consultation, recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are concerned about your health, please seek appropriate care in your area.