The Covid-19 pandemic has caused fear and worry over the possible impact on our friends, family and ourselves. It has revealed the world as an uncertain place. Further… lockdowns, social distancing and media coverage may have added to the impact of the pandemic on our mental wellbeing. So it is important that we understand such relationships and how they may be reduced.
In June 2020 researchers from Columbia, Spain and Chile carried out research to understand these mechanisms: the paper “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on subjective mental well-being: The interplay of perceived threat, future anxiety and resilience” by Paredes et al and published in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences ,Feb 2021.
The researchers questioned 711 people to measure their “subjective mental wellbeing”, their level of “perceived threat” from Covid-19, their “future anxiety” (i.e. how they felt about future uncertainty or threats) and their resilience – a personality trait representing their capacity to deal with stressful events..
The research demonstrated that there was strong link between the level of threat perceived and the subjective mental wellbeing of the subjects. It also demonstrated a significant link between the perceived levels of threat on the future anxiety of the subjects; and that this future anxiety added to the subjective mental wellbeing of the subjects.
The research showed that “resilience” significantly reduced the “future anxiety” within subjects and this in turn significantly improved the mental wellbeing of the subjects.
The researchers commented: “This finding implies that resilience, as a personality trait, prepares individuals to cope with the pandemic’s adverse effects. Individuals with higher levels of resilience reported lower levels of future anxiety and, in turn, lower effects on subjective mental wellbeing, experiencing greater success in coping with the emotional distress provoked by the pandemic.
Interestingly, the research demonstrated that resilience significantly raised the mental wellbeing of both those who experienced a low threat from the Covid-19 pandemic and well as those perceiving a high threat. So even those who were not so stressed by the pandemic experienced a boost to their mental wellbeing from their resilience.
The researchers went on the highlight “Mindfulness Interventions” as a proven way to boost resilience. Further, they suggested that, because social media consumption and news outlets may provide confusing information which increases fear and anxiety, then Governments should implement clear communication strategies. Communication campaigns should promote messages encouraging preventive actions to avoid the spread of the virus. Messages should be concise and focused on practical ways to reduce risk and create tranquillity in the population; and that during, and in the aftermath of, the pandemic it is essential to open communication channels through digital media to provide mental health services.
The researchers concluded that the perceived threats from the pandemic had a detrimental impact on mental health and this impact is reduced by resilience.
“Individuals with higher resilience are less susceptible to the pandemic’s negative psychological consequences because they experience a lower increase in future anxiety, compared to individuals with lower levels of resilience. Our findings imply that mental health intervention strategies aimed at strengthening resilience and preventing future anxiety have a significant potential to mitigate the adverse impact on mental well-being of the Covid-19 pandemic itself and the social measures adopted to curb the pandemic.”
So, to be clear, it is not too late to increase your reliance and so reduced your “anxiety about the future” – the Rezl smartphone app uses Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to increase resilience. Please get itn contact if you would like to try it.