A recent study from the researchers at PsychTests.com reveals that for the most part, negative feelings surrounding the pandemic have actually worsened since 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent compulsory lockdown forever altered the world’s sense of normal. All the things that people took for granted – going shopping, visiting friends, getting a haircut, and even just talking face-to-face with someone – were taken away. A virus that could change on a dime compelled medical experts and governments to fly by the seat of their pants, leaving in their wake a bewildered, frightened, and sometimes resentful population. And according to recent data from PsychTests.com, feelings about the pandemic have not necessarily improved, in spite of the advancements made in the last two years.
Analyzing data from 3,373 people who took the Pandemic Resilience Test, PsychTests’ researchers compared the feelings and attitudes of people towards the pandemic in 2020 to present day. Here’s what PsychTests’ study revealed in terms of people’s beliefs and feelings about the pandemic:
PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES:
Moderate to severe stress:
> 17% in 2020
> 25% in 2022
Moderate to severe anxiety or panic
> 27% in 2020
> 30% in 2022
Moderate to extreme fear and paranoia:
> 15% in 2020
> 19% in 2022
Moderate to extreme sadness:
> 28% in 2020
> 30% in 2022
PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS OVER THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES:
Sense of control over whether they get infected or not:
> 94% in 2020
> 89% in 2022
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Belief that hoarding food and medical supplies is the only way to survive:
> 7% in 2020
> 11% in 2022
Belief that the economy will pick up again:
> 59% in 2020
> 55% in 2022
HOW VALUES AND PRIORITIES HAVE SHIFTED SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC
Parentage of people who believe that health is more valuable than wealth:
> 82% in 2020
> 76% in 2022
Belief that the pandemic will offer valuable lessons about how to deal with future outbreaks:
> 79% in 2020
> 71% in 2022
People who made it a point to be much kinder to others since the start of the pandemic:
> 69% in 2020
> 67% in 2022
Working from home:
> 51% in 2020
> 22% in 2022
Belief humanity is doomed:
> 4% in 2020
> 7% in 2022
“Without question, this pandemic has put the entire world through the emotional wringer,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “At the beginning there was a great deal of ambiguity, because no one, including medical experts, fully understood what we were dealing with. This generated fear and paranoia which then led to panic buying. The forced lockdown isolated many people, which then led to an increase in cases of depression. Marriages started to flounder as the constant presence of one’s partner accentuated annoying habits and communication issues that were previously masked by spending time apart. That’s on top of the pressure of balancing remote work, home-schooling, ‘cabin fever’, lack of exercise, and loss of extended support network. Then as rules became more stringent and the lockdown extended, resentment started to build. People felt their rights were being trampled on, which led to protests, especially as the vaccinations started rolling out. It has been two years since this all began and based on our data, sentiments haven’t improved; they’ve generally worsened. You may not be hearing much COVID-related news anymore because the world is just fed up. And despite the fact that we know more about the virus now than we did then, it hasn’t done much to make people feel a sense of security.”
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO REGAIN SOME SENSE OF NORMALCY:
Remember, your attitude makes all the difference. Essentially, it’s not the stressor that matters as much as how you react to it. When faced with a stressful situation, ask yourself the following questions:
> How does this situation make me feel?
> Why do I feel this way?
> Is my outlook or attitude influencing my feelings?
> Am I catastrophizing, generalizing, or succumbing to fear?
> What aspects can I control?
> What are some alternative ways to look at this situation?
Accept the fear. Everyone is scared of something. We are engineered to fear certain things if they pose a risk to our well-being. However, if it were impossible to overcome fear, we would still be hiding in caves from potential predators. The most unpleasant aspect of facing your fear is not the fear itself – it’s the incessant chatter that goes on in your head…the “what-ifs” and the self-doubt. Break patterns of negative thoughts. Remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat – all we can do is learn to adapt as things unfold. The only way out of this is through it. Breathe through the fear, and distract yourself with a positive activity.
Recapture your power to choose. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you feel helpless, hopeless, or stuck, take a moment to stop and ask yourself the following questions:
> “How would I like things to proceed?”
> “What are my options?”
> “What steps can I take to improve this situation, even just a little?”
Simply taking a moment to recognize that you have the power of choice (to look for a solution, to wait things out, to ask for help) will give you a greater sense of control over your circumstances.
Look for the lessons. Ask yourself the following questions:
> “What is this situation teaching me?”
> “Do I need to be doing more of something, or less of something?”
> “What will I gain by going through this hardship? How will this make me a better, stronger, or wiser person?”
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