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New fears: 5 things we fear in 2020 and how to live with them

Being infected with a new virus is not the only cause for alarm that the pandemic has brought. Edition Lifehacker collected 5 things that turned into new fears of humanity in 2020.

Photo: Shutterstock

Fear 1. Complete virtualization of life

Many people felt uneasy when not only working calls, but also friendly parties went online. Many fear that soon the virtual world will finally push back the physical one. We will see each other only on screens, study and work remotely, and instead of sincere personal conversations, we will be content with chatting. Journalists and researchers regularly talk about this possibility. And people feel more and more alone, despite all the social networks and the possibilities of remote communication.

How to handle

Remember, the fear of a technocratic apocalypse is not new. Media professor Jim McNamara described how, at every turn of technology, people feared that new products would overwhelm everything that came before them. Even the emergence of writing prompted the fear that voice communication would fizzle out. And the disappearance of books was predicted immediately after the invention of the television. But we still talk and read literature. Most likely, personal meetings of people will also be supplemented by active online communication, but will not replace it. It's just that now the lack of real contacts is felt especially acutely, but this is a temporary measure, and not a tendency towards the extinction of living communications.

Fear 2. New epidemic or second wave of COVID-19

From the countries that were the first to face the epidemic, news of the second wave of coronavirus comes. For example, South Korea reports a new increase in cases. This puts a lot of pressure on the psyche: it seems that the most difficult thing is left behind, when suddenly the nightmare repeats itself. Just like in a horror movie, when a kind rescuer turns out to be a maniac. Many are afraid of a repeat of the quarantine: again not to leave the house and watch with alarm the growing numbers of cases. What if the virus mutates? Or will something new appear? There are no answers to these questions, as well as a sense of confidence in the future.

On the subject: The faint-hearted not to watch: 10 films and series about viruses and epidemics

How to handle

First, remember that the first wave hit the world so hard because we were not prepared for a pandemic. The Wuhan virus has not been taken seriously for a long time. Therefore, hospitals were instantly filled, and countries were quarantined. Now, new medical institutions are being built in the world and a new coronavirus is being actively studied.

Secondly, when it comes to global problems, one thing helps to find peace. Take control of your part of the responsibility and let go of everything else. There are things you can personally do: stick to social distancing rules, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay home with cold symptoms. And there are others that you cannot change in any way: how other people live and whether they eat undercooked bats. So keep your focus on the former and don't think too much of the latter.

Fear 3. Health problems

Everyone around is talking about well-being and various symptoms. Everyone listens to themselves and notes the tiniest reactions of the body. And to fall under the gun of indignant glances, it is enough to sneeze in a supermarket. Because of this, even healthy people begin to attribute illness to themselves. And hypochondriacs and people with anxiety disorder have a particularly hard time. Their worst fears came true: they began to really get sick without knowing about it, and the virus can really be everywhere - from handrails in the subway to groceries in the supermarket.

How to handle

While a pandemic is raging in the world, this fear may even be helpful. For the first time in history, germophobia (fear of bacteria) has become not only socially acceptable, but also justified. Being more attentive to your health and leading a healthy lifestyle is not the worst side effect of this fear. The main thing is to try to channel hypochondria into a positive channel of self-care.

Use this moment to start eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. And also - do not diagnose yourself using the Internet. If something bothers you, see a doctor, not people on forums with similar symptoms.

Fear 4. Digital surveillance and interference with the human body

Having to report ahead of time on when and why you go out has been a traumatic experience for many. A lot of new bans and restrictions have appeared, but there is no information about how long they will last. Such circumstances are fertile ground for all kinds of conspiracy theories. Some talk about how a new coronavirus was created in a laboratory to destroy the global economy. Others talk about the obligatory chipping of all people for movement control.

Still others are scared by the new 5G towers that allegedly carry the coronavirus. At the same time, anti-vaccines were activated, which, even before the invention of the COVID-19 vaccine, spread alarm messages about compulsory vaccination. Keeping calm and pragmatism in such a situation is difficult even for the most reasonable people.

How to handle

Conspiracy theories are both good and bad in that they cannot be proven or disproved. These ideas can look very logical and coherent - like any deliberate lie. But the peculiarity of our thinking helps them to seem truthful. The human brain prefers to believe in something frightening, but interesting and understandable, than to wait for boring and verified information. This does not mean that everything you read on social media is not true. But imagination can go far, so it's much better to focus on your own life than trying to unravel the web of world conspiracies.

On the subject: Consequences of the coronavirus: what we will no longer see on grocery store shelves

If you read well-grounded but frightening predictions of trends in society, remember: these are only predictions. They rely on the dynamics of our development, but they cannot predict one hundred percent what will happen. At the very least, no one foresaw such an outcome of the outbreak of strange pneumonia in Wuhan. Forecasts can be taken into account, but not absolute.

Fear 5. Life and career planning

When stability was shattered, many became afraid to think about the future. Lack of confidence in the future prevents us from making plans. Many have put aside in a distant box the thought of leaving work and trying to find a job to their liking. Now I would like to preserve at least some source of income. Others decided to postpone the appearance of a child: how to become parents when every way out of the house is a risk of contracting an unknown virus? Even plans to go on vacation are accompanied by the fear of staying in a foreign country without the opportunity to return home. Large spending like buying an apartment or a car is also not easy - it’s scary to be without savings or to hang on to a mortgage at such an unpredictable time.

How to handle

In order not to live for one day, you have to learn flexibility: make plans, but not get discouraged when they are thwarted. Try to find opportunities to consider option B if something goes wrong. And if you suffer a lot when things go wrong, it's better to wait. For example, do not plan trips abroad six months in advance, but wait until full-fledged flights are launched. For now, you can travel locally and discover nearby places.

If you have to make really important choices, remember that a pandemic or crisis is not the end of the world. It is not worth completely freezing your dreams and plans "until better times". Life goes on and people adapt. For example, this year there are record low mortgage rates. Anti-crisis measures are also emerging in other areas. And the main thing: there is no guarantee of absolute stability not only now, but never in general. Even the calmest and most satisfying times can suddenly end. Therefore, assess the risks and opportunities sensibly, do not let this period drive you into a stupor.

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