The world is gripping with fear and confusion. Over here in Singapore, I was in my neighbourhood supermarket yesterday evening - most of the meats and veggies were gone from the shelves. I witnessed shoppers loading their shopping carts with a year's supply of butter, flour, veggies, meat…..everything. Thank goodness they are over toilet papers. I’m just wondering how long can they keep the veggies from rotting.
The psychological communities around the world are doing what we can to help reduce fear and anxiety in the society. As member of both Singapore Psychology Society (SPS) and American Psychological Association (APA), I am also reaching out in my very small ways to calm the nerves of people around me. But of course, this is not an easy task.
So if you feel that this email may help anyone out there, please feel free to share with them.
Going with the Dream vs Going with the Flow
As woo woo as it sounds, let your dream reins. Human must live in hope. Especially when you are going through difficult times.
With the advancement in neuroscience, scientists began to understand that we human have two Attractors:
- Positive Emotional Attractor
- Negative Emotional Attractor
These two Attractors literally behave like two mutually exclusive “switches” - when one is switched on, the other switches off. Compared to the positive emotions, negative emotions are way more powerful and gripping on our human mind, heart and body. When the negative switch is turned on, our human brain gets into a survival mode and shuts down the non essential neural circuits. In layman terms, we become dump.
Cortisol, a stress hormone, is released to to get us more alert; blood pressure goes up, muscles enlarge and tighten. We are now ready to fight for our lives.
[Source of images: Mclean, Affiliate of Harvard Medical Hospital]
As part of the process, our healthy immunity system goes down. We lose our ability to think and be creative. What a vicious cycle.
We must be careful when we choose to switch the Negative Emotion Attractor on. Scientific research has even shown that in moments of stress, our human peripheral vision, which is typically 110 degree seach side, can be reduced to just 30 degrees. Tunnel vision is not a metaphor. As such, it is recommended that for every one negativity, you need to balance it with at least 3-5 (or even 7) positivity to help balance our mind.
This is also why, organisational psychologists become aware that setting goals may actually not be the best way to go about things, often because goal setting tends to comes from a place of fear, problem, limitation and obligation. Ironically, when we bury ourselves excessively in plans towards a destination, we are activating our limitations.
Well, this does not mean we turn our face away from reality, start singing ~Que Sera Sera ~ and let fate decide for us.
Harness the power of visions and dreams can powerfully activate our Positive Emotional Attractor. Visions, dreams take us to a sweet place we love to be at and we will naturally, healthily gravitated towards making it happen.
Leverage on the power of social network or I prefer to call it an “ecosystem" - band together to support each other. Thank goodness the pandemic happens in the digital era when we can still interact online.
Stroke your cats and dogs. Stroking fish and birds won’t help, I’m sorry. These creatures just don’t reciprocate to help release our Oxytocin, nature’s tranquiliser.
Be grateful, gracious and appreciative. See possibilities in other people. And because we have mirror neutrons, our beneficiary will shine the graciousness back on us. The old adage, “what goes around, comes around”…is true.
All these will turn on our positive hormones naturally and powerfully, strengthening our immunity system. There is no better vaccine at the moment than our own self produced hormones. We are really stronger and more resourceful than we actually imagine.
May the force be with you.