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COVID-19. Why changing your Focus can be the Best choice in the time of Coronavirus

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

In the midst of thousands of Media information the results can be Fear, Confusion or other unpleasant emotions. If you want to live better during this quarantine period, you can change your Focus. How can you do it? Let's take a look.




If you live in Italy or in any other country during this period, perhaps you are experiencing the same situation: Media from all around, at this time talking about the Coronavirus, as goes for your friends, family, colleagues and neightbours (at least your pet can't speak!).


In this moment you can have one of two thoughs:


1. Yes and I'm panicking

2. Yes, but I'm doing well


Well, whatever your thought is among these two, we suggest that you keep reading. Even if you feel good and agree with the second thought, chances are you probably know someone who is thinking the first thought, and that person can be helped with the tips we are going to share with you.


1.TURN OFF YOUR TV


Maybe you have noticed or perhaps you haven't...your first source of fear and stress are the Media constantly talking about this situation. Knowing every hour how many people are been infected and how many have died will not be useful in any way. Of course it can be important to update yourself about the things to do and what not to do, so, if it gives you relief and sense of control (process of rationalizing), check once a day for the official information (be careful about the fake news!), or perhaps choose to be informed by someone who has reliable sources.


Anyway, focusing on the problem won't lead you to a solution.

However it will certainly increase your level of cortisol, commonly called the stress hormone. And it is not really an ally for your health, especially for long periods of time. I'm going to talk more specifically about it in the following.



2.CHANGE THE SUBJECT OF YOUR CONVERSATION


We are spontaneously led to talk about this over and over again with any person we speak to.

As before, if it helps you to not feel alone in this situation and/or it helps you to calm down, it's ok, do it and then after i while, ask yourself :


"What do i really want to know about the person i'm talking with?"


Think about your life before the quarantine, perhaps your daily schedule and routines did not allow you the time to go on your balcony and talk with your neighbours, or call your friend and family. The lack of time seemed to be the problem of last month and now this month we have an abundance of it!

So many of us are in the same situation, so we can easily relate to each other and build Rapport , being "on the same wave". In this moment you have the opportunity to talk and know a bit more about that person, who they are and how they live.


Maybe you realize that by applying this process makes you feel different, and probably the person you're talking to also changes their state. Just because you made a simple shift in your focus.



3.CHANGE YOUR FOCUS ANYTIME YOU FEEL OVERWHELMED


Let's make one thing explicit:

There are no negative emotions. Every emotion has a positive intention and can be useful.

For example, Rage might seem like a "bad" emotion, if someone has done something bad to you, it can help you to keep the distance between you and them. So the intention might be to keep yourself safe.


But, and there is a BUT. When you realize that you don't need that emotion anymore, or the side effects are too much, or, simply you don't want it anymore, find a way to change the state and satisfy that underlying intention differently.


Let's talk about Fear.

Galimberti(1^), an italian philosopher, sociologist, psychoanalyst, says:


"It's a primary emotion of defense, caused by a dangerous situation that can be real, anticipated by the forecast, evoked by the memory or produced by the imagination. Fear is often accompanied by an organic reaction, for which the autonomic nervous system is responsible, which prepares the organism for the emergency situation, arranging it, even if in a non-specific way, for the preparation of the defenses that usually translate into attitudes fight and flight."

So, Fear puts your body in an alert state. Our brain's through the connection of the hypothalamus - pituitary - adrenal quickly releases adrenaline and noradrenaline which would allow us to react by running away or attacking (2^Adams, V., 1994). And this reaction can be a really good thing when we perceive a dangerous situation and the purpose is to put our body's in a safer condition.

In this period it's ok to experience fear. Infact, it is necessary to understand the seriousness of the situation and take the directives seriously to avoid spreading what is contagions. If we were without fear we would probably continue to break the laws and go around in contact with other people, infecting each other.


And what happens if we cannot change our environment, our context, if we cannot eliminate the reason why we're expiriencing fear?

What happens when we let fear take over? We panic and we no longer know how to handle the situation.


How do our body's react? When in fear, our body's continue to produce adrenaline which starts to produce cortisol, as said before, the stress hormone.


What are the effects of those hormones flooding our body's and mind's?


The first side effect is that the body lowers cognitive faculties. Increasing the body to react in survival mode (commonly known as flight/fight response) and decreasing the body to respond within reason (relaxing or parasympathetic body response). What is most important to understand is that this stress state cannot be sustained for long, so, simplifying, if we remain in fear our body must use more energy, more resources than usual, and it releases other substances which start to weak our immune system, expecially reducing the activity implicated in antiviral and anticancer functions, although scientific studies have not yet shown the correlation between stress and the onset of tumors (3^AIRC, 2019).

Consequence: we are more likely to get sick, even of that virus that we are so afraid of.

So, just shifting your focus away from the problem will stop this alarm response of your brain and your body will be grateful for that.



4. HOW TO CHANGE YOUR FOCUS



We are already good at this, and exactly as all the things in which we are extremely competent in, we are not able to do it consciously (yet).



So, for the first step, ask yourself:


- In which situations in my life was I able to change my focus so much that I could manage that challenging context?

- What did I focus on?

- Why exactly did i focus on that?


The answer to the last question will probably be "I don't know!", and this is completely ok! In fact it's a great answer.


I could give you examples in how to move your focus, even if the information is interesting, trust me, it won't work, because these suggestions are what work for me and each person is different. What works for me may not work for you.


Remember, it's a personal process, so just become more aware about what attracts your attention and keep there your focus, even the most absurd thing can make a difference.


Ask yourself does this thought add to my stress or add to my relief.


Trust yourself, your body is always giving feedback.

There is a lot to be said about this topic and we could speak about this process endlessly, so we've decided to put all this important information into a book, stay tuned for the publishing date, we will go deep into details discussing the whats, the how and the process. And for those who are interested in discovering the power of your brain, we suggest to first start focusing on what you like and then, anything else appears in your mind, STICK WITH IT!


So, as we say in our seminars,

if it works, you are doing the process right! ;)


Lory Caccamo

 

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Sources:

1^ Galimberti, U.(2006) Dizionario di psicologia. Vol III, Roma, Gruppo editoriale L'Espresso.

2^ Adams, V. (1994) Principles of Neurology. McGraw-Hill

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