Tel-Hai Magazine - Fall 2020

Why Do We Fear Corona Prof. Shmuel (Mooli) Lahad

Virus So Much?

Prof. Mooli Lahad of Tel-Hai College, Founder and President of MASHABIM Community Stress Prevention Center in Kiryat Shemona, and an international expert in dealing with stress and anxiety inducing situations believes that our hatred of uncertainty is key to explaining this fear. “Let’s start with the name of the

They are now “patients” and not managers, administrators etc. Someone who is in home quarantine doesn’t go to work, doesn’t fill certain regular roles. Role discontinuity often causes feelings of helplessness and lack of functioning. Historical continuity is also disrupted when people feel that they “don’t know themselves,” that they are going crazy, that the feelings they feel right now are strange to them. They don’t recognize themselves when they are frightened, crying, tired, with aches or pains. What can we do? First, we can learn the facts and not let rumors and unreliable interpretations run our lives. In situations like this it is very important to be attentive to official entities like the Ministry of Health and our own medical professionals, to get assistance from the Magen David Adom information center and the Ministry of Health. It is important to build a routine even if the regular daily schedule is disrupted. Even if you are under lockdown in home quarantine, set a daily schedule. At first it seems strange but if you are consistent you will see that this in itself organizes you. Set times for getting up, for meals, for light exercise, for watching the internet/computer/news, and bedtime. In homes with children, a set schedule helps children and also parents. Two weeks is a long time to be at home. You can add game time to the schedule (games of all kinds), times for tidying and organizing the house or all kinds of other activities that you have been putting off. In every home there are more than enough items to sort or get rid of. Here’s your opportunity. Find time to rest. People who know how to do meditation and relaxation have a wonderful tool at their disposal. There are many examples on YouTube for relaxation including soothing music. Stay connected with family and friends. Through smartphones, social networks, email, WhatsApp and more. Organize online food shopping through apps or other services you can order on the internet and of course the delivery can be left outside your door if you are in quarantine. Make a group in Skype, Zoom or FaceTime which will allow you to see your friends and family and make that part of your daily schedule. Remember that people who aren’t in quarantine aren’t always free to be in touch. Don’t be insulted, schedule time with them.

What aspects of the Corona virus pandemic scares us? Human beings are creatures who hate uncertainty and even more so lack of control. Uncertainty and lack of control bring on a sense of helplessness. But in truth human beings are experts at coping with uncertainty. There is no other creature that takes risks in the face of uncertainty in life like the human being. So what is so frightening about COVID-19? 1. The invisibility of the frightening entity. Despite the fact that we have received explanations of how it spreads, it remains invisible. 2. The huge media buzz. 3. Historical associations with “plagues” that wiped out entire populations, such as the Black Plague in Europe. 4. Quarantine – denial of freedom of movement. 5. Uncertainty about when a vaccine will be found. 6. And of course the fact that COVID-19 can cause death. virus. The meaning of the name is crown or diadem and of course this derives from the similarity between the shape of the virus and the image of a crown. Therefore, our goal needs to be to decrease the control of this king or queen over our lives. What happens to us in a situation of threat and uncertainty? A health event like the corona virus or in fact any crisis disrupts our sense of continuity. We are simultaneously faced with uncertainty and a feeling that yesterday can no longer serve as a predictor of tomorrow. The disruption of realistic-cognitive continuity is expressed in a feeling that one does not understand what is happening. One feels confused, that the world has been disrupted, the natural order has been challenged and our routine has been broken. When social continuity is disrupted, we feel isolated and disconnected. Home quarantine due to fears of COVID-19 increases social disconnection. There is also fear that if people discover we are identified as someone who may have the COVID-19 virus, people will avoid contact with us. People who are taken to hospital find themselves in a new and different social situation whose rules they do not understand, and of course they experience a loss of their accustomed roles.

Magazine, Fall 2020

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