The brain amidst COVID-19 pandemic


(Robina Weermeijer, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The Sting by one of our passionate readers, Ms Parisa Ijaz, student at the University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila. Pakistan. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue. 

If you experience a racing heartbeat or tightness in your chest when you read a news story about the pandemic, it’s because of your sympathetic nervous system. When the brain senses a threat, it triggers the fight or flight response (Sorry for the anecdote, but you watched Titanic knowing how that was going to play out) 

Why? When emotions burn hot, we can’t see or think clearly.

Just like anxiety and fear, anger also makes the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of our brain, go offline. This is where the terms “explosive anger” and “blind rage” come from. It doesn’t matter what fuel caused the fire. What matters is that the forest is burning. This applies to any anger we’re seeing out there right now

Let’s spark with the seeds of anger. Think back to the last time you were angry. Anger doesn’t just come out of the blue – it starts somewhere. Fire needs fuel and a spark to get going.

This applies to any situation, but right now, the coronavirus is that fuel. We are the spark. How do we use this fuel to create glowing embers of warm connection with people we love in difficult times, rather than pouring petrol on the fire and burning everything around us?

Here’s the science.

Really briefly, there are two types of fuel for anger. Let’s call these petrol and diesel. The petrol type is anger born from expectations – basically not getting something we want. The diesel type of anger is born from getting hurt, being put in a vulnerable situation, basically anything related to fear. Interestingly, similar to petrol and diesel fuel, which both start from crude oil, both types of anger have something in common: wanting.

With expectations, we can get angry when we don’t get  something we want. With fear, we can get angry when we get something we didn’t want. The only difference is the polarity. Expectations are related to wanting more of something, and fear is related to wanting less of something.

Let’s take an example of fake news about the coronavirus. There is a lot of anger and outrage out there about this, because the stakes of this virus are so real. Someone could fuel their own anger with either petrol or diesel. If their expectations of wanting people to disseminate only accurate information aren’t met, they’re adding petrol. If they’re afraid that fake news will keep people from taking the situation seriously, they’re adding diesel. Both add fuel to the fire, and neither help the situation.

How do we bottle up all of this fuel and use its energy to drive forward together? Here is a simple, One-step process you can use when your anger flares up: the power to activate the vagus nerve lies within you. Activate it wisely, and regain the calm you so desire.

In the midst of a global pandemic.

While associating an anger with corona is a common trope. It isn’t the smooth ride we are expecting at all, but a chafing, agonizing, gritty slump to the bottom. More of a ‘built your own burger’ of symptoms layered on conditions layered on diseases. The job would be difficult emotionally when things went wrong – not every stork has a happy landing – but unfortunately the depth of the lows is the price you pay for the height of the highs.

There could be a flip-side to the above text as well.

That’s right: How well it will reflect on the monarchy if you succeed? Sailing the ship alone: a ship that’s enormous, and on fire, and no one has really taught you how to sail. It’s sink or swim, and you’ve to learn how to swim: don’t trail behind like a ‘Hypnotized Duckling’.

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

Mali peace process in a ‘critical phase’, says head of UN Mission

The Eurogroup offered a cold reception to IMF’s director for Europe

Hope for ‘long-elusive progress’ in negotiating peace in eastern Ukraine

To rebuild trust in the media, we must empower its consumers

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

How COVID-19 is taking gaming and esports to the next level

Germany is turning its old mines into tourist hotspots

Quantitative easing: how Mario can tackle low inflation in Eurozone

How can we measure real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?

Four years on and half a billion dollars later – Tax Inspectors Without Borders

Can I still send mail in the time of coronavirus?

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

Venezuela: MEPs call for free and fair elections in the crisis-torn country

World Food Day: here’s what the UN is doing to fix ‘intolerable’ wrong of hunger

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

Burundi: Inclusive dialogue ‘only viable option’ for resolving country’s political crisis says, UN envoy

The rise of techno-nationalism – and the paradox at its core

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Transgaz to facilitate natural gas exports from Romania

Supercomputing could solve the world’s problems, and create many more

Pervasive corruption costs $2.6 trillion; disproportionately affects ‘poor and vulnerable’ says UN chief

Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

Is it impossible to place the banks under control?

7 key authors from Switzerland’s literary scene

Coronavirus could trigger a hunger pandemic – unless urgent action is taken

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

Technophobe or technophile? We need more conversation about digital transformation

Theresa May expresses her optimism about Britain’s economic success while UK business outlook seems ominous

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

“As long as we work together through thick and thin, more benefits can be delivered to the people of Eurasia”, China’s Premier Li Keqiang highlights from ASEM in Brussels

EU crisis aggravates structural differences, threatens cohesion

Afghan refugees: €21 million in humanitarian aid for host communities and vulnerable populations in Pakistan and Iran

Is the world living up to its climate commitments?

European Elections: “Web giants” are urging users to vote

Three ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping geopolitics

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

Multiculturalism, social diversity and tolerance

What the mighty mangrove tells us about our broken relationship with nature

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

EU4FairWork: Commission launches campaign to tackle undeclared work

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo declared over, now let’s tackle other health challenges: WHO chief

How to look after someone with coronavirus

A skills gap is jeopardizing efforts to end energy poverty

I accidentally went viral on TikTok. I learned we failed our youngest generation.

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

European Defence Fund on track with €525 million for Eurodrone and other joint research and industrial projects

Landmark agreement will protect 100 European Geographical Indications in China

Improvements to pension systems have made them better placed to deliver pensions

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Data is the fuel of mobility. Don’t spill it for nothing

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

Afghanistan can rely on international support along harrowing road to peace, and beyond

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

Here’s how blockchain could stop corrupt officials from stealing school lunches

Lifting the lid on the value of a company’s human capital

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s