Apr. 28, 2020

OPTIMISM strengthens your health

We have developed sophisticated forms of cooperation that increase our chances not only to survive, but to progress and flourish. We have rational, emotional, social and spiritual reasons for optimism about the future. Do not to confuse optimism with naivety or denial of reality, since being optimistic does not imply denying the problems that reality presents, but assuming its existence and defining action strategies based on hope to face reality and transform it. Health does not depend only on physical values, but also on the attitude with which people face life. If faced with stress-generating situations, optimists tend to experience less negative moods than pessimists, which manifest itself in more adaptive health behaviors and a better immune system.

Through our memory we can remember events that we have experienced. We tend to think that we remember more if these events occur very frequently. But memory occurs for reasons other than the number of times it happens. For example, when we experience only one event in a traumatic way, the brain overestimates the probability that it will recur and we remember it much more. Right now, many people are trying to survive COVID-19 and many have lost their lives. The death of many people with a tragic end, we can live it in a traumatic way. One step to take care of your health may be not to assume immediately that this is the destiny that awaits you. To keep your health away from trauma, depression and anxiety, think that tens of thousands of people are recovering. Try not to live in the worst-case scenarios of COVID-19, and always remember that statistically speaking, most people have a good chance of overcoming the pandemic without showing minor symptoms of the disease.

In addition, the predisposition towards the negative must be stopped, it negatively affects your mood and opens the door to providers of bad news or who offer solutions through fear. Do you spend a lot of time consuming information about the corona virus? You wonder, will I catch the virus or when will the crisis end? Is an economic crisis being created? Everyone can have their say and make guesses, but no one really knows the exact answers to these questions. Hence, it is important to differentiate risk from uncertainty. Uncertainty implies unknown possible outcomes, and therefore unknown probabilities. Risk involves possible known outcomes and probabilities that we can estimate. The risk is not particularly terrifying, as it can be managed. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is scary, because it is not manageable: we cannot measure the probability and the impacts of the unknown.

COVID-19 is more of an uncertainty than a risk. It is natural to try to turn uncertainty into risk by filling us ourselves on the available information. We think that if we know enough about something, we can accurately assess how much we are at risk. But all that is a useless exercise. The information we now have about the corona virus is incomplete. In an effort to apprehend risk, we have simply been filled with more uncertainty. And after a few hours of doing that, we will be more anxious and depressed than when we started. So what you do know is that you are alive and well right now, so you will take advantage of this day's gift.

Good and bad things tend to happen at different rates over time. Negative things, like this pandemic, can be a rapid outbreak. Good things, like the advances that science has made, happen gradually and over a long period of time. I remember when I heard about HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s. In 1995, much had already been learned about and the first generation of medicines kept infected people alive. There were 15 years of suffering. This also happened with Smallpox (3,500 years of suffering), Ebola (five years of suffering), typhoid, measles, polio and whooping cough, etc. Much progress has been made and the speed of success is increasing.

Related to the above, there are people who are aware of the progress that science has made in the past, but who underestimate the ability to change and adapt in the future. If a negative situation is extrapolated to the future without considering our ability to adapt, the result is a disastrous scenario. For example, if we extrapolate government deficits, in twenty years we will be bankrupt. If we extrapolate a recession, we will soon be bankrupt. All of these could be reasons for pessimism if no change or adaptation is assumed in the future. There is an error in this thinking, given our long history of change and adaptation.

Latest comments

06.07 | 14:21

Fantástica experiencia trabajar con un profesional de este nivel. Empático y cordial. Tremendo aporte para el desarrollo personal y laboral

12.09 | 23:38

Excelente persona, con una gran sensibilidad para ayudar a otros, puede llegar a transformar realmente en forma positiva la percepción que tememos acerca de nosotros mismos, a través del autoconocimi

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