The pandemic we faced globally, imprisoned us. Apart from being in quarantine, it made us focus more internally, since we got completely disconnected from the outside world.
Research says, keeping ourselves away from the people will not help us. Avoiding being compassionate towards people will affect our mental health. Only, the connectivity we have with society, sustains our wellbeing.
Leah Weiss, a founding faculty member of Stanford University’s compassion cultivation training program, did research on the after effects of people who were not able to get connected and help others during the pandemic situation, and also how they became mentally sick because of isolating themselves from society.
“When we get into a fear-based, anxiety-driven perspective, we’re going to withdraw and isolate. When we withdraw and isolate, we have even more anxiety, so it leads to a negative loop,” Weiss says. “The whole thing ramps us up, and then our resilience, our resources go down.”
How keeping ourselves away from the society will affect us:
Marcela Matos, psychologist, university of Coimbra, she and her team recruited 4000 across 21 countries to do a survey on “ the attitude towards compassion “, how it affected people during the pandemic. Many had fear of compassion, some thought exhibiting compassion will show their weakness, some thought the people around them dont deserve it. This fear does not allow them to see others suffer.
On the other side, those who choose to be compassionate with others during their hard times, found it helped their well-being. The training programs that were conducted during that time boosted their attitude of being compassionate with others. Meta meditation, group prayers and other compassionate practices activate their parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to keep ourselves calm and recover from stress.
People struggling with mental illness due to pandemic should be given compassion focused therapy (CFT). Through these sessions the therapist enables the clients to become compassionate, tell them about their ability level in helping others and how they have helped others during the other people’s difficulties. It will build their resilience. The CFT also encourages people to look out for others in ways that benefit everyone involved.
The moment they realise that being compassionate with others not only helps others in hard times but also helps them to handle tough situations during their own life, they also get out of being isolated. We are always entangled with society. Kindness and compassion is the best way of living with harmony in the society.