Let’s ‘fess up. We seem to have a distinct craving for shock and awe. Anything factoid worthy of “Have you heard the latest?!” only to be trumped by “Not only that, but….” can hyper-fan the flames of OMG-infused dismay, disgust, and depression. In today’s 24/7 instant-ping, insomnia-inducing digital news alert onslaught, it’s easy to get sucked in, if not pummeled and then overwhelmed. With the Coronavirus pandemic, surely you have noticed a certain predictable, and highly flawed, or at least pathetically under-optimized pattern of response.
And in fact, the contagious fear may be more dangerous for more people than the viral contagion. The psychological fear [of a disease] is more fearful than the disease itself. According to the WHO, the psychological contagion effect is always more far-reaching than the physical contagion.
Never forget, there is no such thing as an information vacuum. In the absence of credible action-oriented information, people make up their own answers, provide their unfounded expert point-of-view and then spread this false wisdom via social media. The good news, however, is that our response to this can be radically upgraded, with huge benefits to all.
The moment you get that start to feel the onset of anxiety fueled by headline-hungry, crisis junky-journalists and our dear personal experts and friends on Facebook, the best thing to do, according to Psychology Today, is to dive in by courageously asking two questions:
- What is the worst-case scenario? (Usually multiple levels, that go deeper and deeper).
- What can I/we do now to minimize the potential downside?
This is meant to bring the situation into perspective and provide peace of mind. Once you have the situation sized up you can then begin to look forward. As my mentor used to always say, you must begin with the end in mind. So, go ahead, get out your blank sheet of paper, and come up with the killer “the moment this starts improving….” upswing plan, for gaining insane momentum when the storm clears!