At a time like this, death seems to be the only thing people are paying attention to. All that negativity has an adverse impact on your mental health. Stats are crucial in order to begin to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the world, but one should focus on the positive stats that exist as well, this will help mitigate your anxiety about the virus.
The brain is predisposed with a negativity bias which means that your brain has a greater sensitivity to negative statistics or news. This bias means that the brain reacts more to stimuli that is negative, which impacts your attitudes and behaviours on a day to day basis. The reason for this is to help us survive and be aware of danger, but this creates anxiety and fear.
When focusing on the “good” statistics, you can alter the way your brain reacts to, for example, the impacts of the death stats we see from COVID-19. If you take the time to look at the stats, you’ll come across a page that starts with the current cases and how serious they are, but if you scroll a little bit further you’ll see the most crucial stat: recovery.
The media seems to only be discussing the deaths, but out of the 757, 061 confirmed cases in which the disease has run it’s course, 79% of those people have recovered from the virus. In Canada, currently, there have been 38,205 cases with 12,586 recovered and only 1,800 deaths, which goes to show that the media only puts out what they want us to see versus the full reality of the situation. Take the time out of your day to take a look at the positive stats to keep your mind from drifting to the unknown all the time. A lot of the time we fear what we cannot control, but you do have the ability to control what you choose to allow your brain to digest. Even though people are getting the virus, the rate of recovery will only continue to increase.
By taking the time to engage with recovery stats instead of the death rates, you allow yourself to be influenced by the power of positive thinking. Positive thinking alone reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations. Not only that, but recovery stats can increase your ability to be resilient towards negativity, thus reducing the impact of the brain’s negativity bias.
Thinking negatively can also impact your immune system, even make you sick, which is challenging in a time like this. Consciously rewiring your brain to be more inclined toward positive statistics will decrease the impact of anxiety and stress on your physical and mental health.
Start engaging in conversations with your family and friends about recovery instead of death, not only will you positively impact yourself but also those you care about. Let’s begin to talk about recovery, not death, and in return, protect our mental and physical health.
Research blog by Sarika Ganguli