THE Covid-19 virus is triggering stress causing varying reactions like sadness, worry, confusion and fear in society.
All kinds of stress make people assume that there will be shortages of food and necessities.
People are also suffering as they are far from family and friends. Some fear losing their jobs, others worry about having to close their business. Those who receive daily wages wonder whether they can survive.
For the frontliners who treat patients infected with Covid-19, the stress level surely intensifies as they are also exposed directly to the life-threatening virus. The limitless information on Covid-19 from social media, be it genuine or fake, worsens the situation and contributes to the panic in society.
Studies show that excessive stress can cause failure in an individual’s mental and physical systems, which will have an impact on the physiology, psychology and behaviour. In brief, stress actually weakens the immune system and disturbs the body’s ability to battle the infection. There is also some who do not seem to be concerned about the danger of Covid-19.
They will also trigger stress in other people. To deal with these people, the writer proposes that a tougher method be used as their behaviour can be changed only with fines and punishment.
Another issue is how the situation at the workplace in the time of Covid-19 is different. The psychological preparation of every member in an organisation is crucial.
It involves how individuals in the group perceive those outside the group. The global pandemic has spawned xenophobia. Thus organisations have to improve occupational safety and health procedures so that the confidence of every member in interacting with foreigners can be renewed.
Every member in the organisation must make five psychological preparations.
First, they must accept themselves the way they are, admit their own strengths and weaknesses, and accept the fact that life has its ups and downs. This principle is able to form members who are more confident about overcoming future challenges.
Second, the members must adopt a psychology of change, especially with regard to personal growth and development. An open attitude, and readiness to accept new knowledge and experiences can steer them to excellence.
Third, members need to be aware of the fact and the meaning of life. The paradigm shift and mental improvement about their life purpose will evoke the feeling that life is truly meaningful.
Fourth, members must be psychologically sensitive to the environment. Back then, the environment was always said to be influencing human life, but today the mentality of members needs to be changed so they will believe they are able to influence their surroundings.
Fifth, members have to realise the importance of the social psychology aspect. To obtain a strong sense of social psychology starts with positive personal relationships which will create a harmonious atmosphere. The ability to believe, to love and to support others (spouse, children, parents and colleagues) is an important input for the individual’s consolidation of social psychology.
The worry and stress need to be handled properly to help individuals produce reactions to protect themselves and increase self-discipline. The cooperation and unity of every party and layer of society are needed to control stress and to curb this virus.
Professor Dr Zafir Khan Mohamed Makhbul