We have news media, social media, colleagues, friends and many other sources bombarding us with Fear, Anxiety, Insecurity, Ignorance, Misinformation most every day about what is the #Covid19 #CoronaVirus and what is our prognosis and future in this crazy volatile world. Everything is crashing and so what is next….
Well the Pandemic is for real! It is scary, it is infectious and it is sadly deadly for too many. Yet the likely impact and outcome for the majority of us as individuals and as a society is in our own hands (literally) and in the mindset and behaviours we choose over the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Despite the natural tendency to attach ourselves to the fear, anxiety and misery of what is now defined by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic, I would offer we have an alternate and better option. *** It is to think positively, engage to expertise, read facts, follow the guidelines – most specifically on social distancing, act with thought and care, be hygienically smart, be kind and supportive to those around you, smile lots and ignore the media and all others wishing to scaremonger and engender additional fear and anxiety!. *** Sounds simple… well it can be!
So why? Well let me start with my own worst case scenario, what is the worst that can happen to me. Well, I get infected, it overpowers my immune system, my body cannot cope and I die. Wow… glad to get that out of the way. Yes, it’s a real possibility and yet statistically it’s a low likely, depending on the variables. Taking the facts as we know them today and the scientific estimations, the Corona virus over the next 2 years will kill between tens of thousands and 10 million people (source Wall Street Journal). So let me adjust the worst case scenario, excluding all other variables, it’s 1 in a thousand chance I will die. The best case scenario, is 1 in 400,000 I will die. Now I can take the variables of location, age, state of health, immune system, support system..etc. Less likely, more likely…. Well doesn’t really matter!? In a statistical context and as an Irish person I could be one of the 6 in a thousand Irish people who will die this year (aside from corona virus) or alternately I am one of the 994 that will not die this year. So the statistics are pretty good for me as with Corona my worst case scenario being 1 in a 1000 and best is 1 in 400,000. That’s makes me feel better… ahhhh… Really. Ok, for those who know me personally, I am choosing to ignore my age, my life habits and more stuff as that so my statistical prognosis may not be so positive.
I love statistics, but most of what statistics represent are outside of my control and influence, so the alternate I am suggesting is that I focus instead on what is within my own control and influence. This option I am suggesting is based on a behavioural model called the CIA (Control, Influence, Accept/Adapt) model. As a model it can be offered as a versatile problem-solving and stress-management tool that identifies three ways to respond to challenges –
Control: identify the issues or elements of the situation that I control.
Influence: identify the elements that I can’t control, but that I can influence.
Accept/Adapt: identify the things that I can neither control nor influence, then accept and adapt.
It’s a really simple model and tool, but if you would like to understand more of the theory and application, I offer you to buy a book called “The Critically Reflective Practitioner” by Neil and Sue Thompson which covers it and a lot more in detail. It was first published in 2008 and is designed for students, practitioners and managers of social work, health care and related fields. So very relevant to today’s pandemic.
But I digress, back to connecting the model to the alternate option and why I propose it. If I take the things beyond my control like the reality of the virus itself, how it multiplies, its current state in my country and locale, the laws as apply to date in terms of freedom of movement vs restrictions, the politicians, the news media, social media and what is written..etc. All of the these I would suggest are out of my control. In terms of influence, well I can write about and respond to the politicians, news media and social media and perhaps it can effect some change, but very low likely. Similarly with the other factors I mentioned, and there are so many others. So instead of engaging myself in the complexity and misery of all of that, I will choose to accept it as is and instead focus on what is within my control and my influence. That takes me back to my own mindset, my choices, my behaviours and to my proposed list which is again *** Think positively, engage to expertise, read facts, follow the guidelines – most specifically on social distancing, act with thought and care, be hygienically smart, be kind and supportive to those around you, smile lots and ignore the media and all others wishing to scaremonger and engender additional fear and anxiety! *** It really can be that simple and the more of us who engage to these or similar choices/practices, the more positive the likely outcome for us all. In the meantime I intend for myself and propose for all those who engage to this article to enjoy our lives as it is today, in its ways, its wonders, its challenges and its limitations and to adapt in every day as things may change. We are worth it and it is worth us!
In writing this article I do not wish to diminish in any sense the gravity of the current situation, nor to ignore the pain, loss and hurt of those directly or indirectly effected by Covid-19, whether physically, mentally or financially.
In support of those who either wish to know more or how to cope and deal with the current situation, I refer you to an article written by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC) on March 6th 2020. I personally found it very reassuring and their recommendations very reasoned and easy to understand. The article focuses specifically on mental coping and well-being, but there is much more information available on COVID-19 in a section you will see at the side called “What you should know”. The following is a link to the paper –