Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health stated, “Fear is contagious” In times such as these, the epidemic of anxiety and fear can be more hazardous than the virus itself. When it comes to the contagion of emotions, social distancing and other safety precautions are ineffective. Anxiety and fear are held and transferred outside of space and time in the collective consciousness.
Humans, because of the size of our neocortex (our brain) can turn on the stress response, also known as the survival response, just by thought alone. The act of turning on the news can elicit the same chemical response in the body as if the person was actually being chased by a sabre tooth tiger.
When the hormones of adrenaline and cortisol are released because of some threat in the environment, energy is shunted from the vital organs to the extremities to facilitate fight or flight. When the stress response is turned on for an extended period of time, a direct effect is a suppressed immune system making us more susceptible to illness and disease. To make matters worse, the chemicals of stress disconnect us from the our executive function in our brain. We lose access to our intuition, our ability to solve problems, to see possibility, to dial down fear and more. To successfully help our teams through this time, leaders must help them manage and regulate negative emotions.
FIVE WAYS LEADERS CAN FOSTER RESILIENCE IN THEIR TEAMS
1. Encourage people to limit news and social media. Advise them to get the news they need to get from credible sources and then turn it off. Constant exposure to dramatized news over time alters peoples perception of reality and the associated fear puts them into sympathetic over drive.
2. Give them facts and be real with them. Facts about COVID 19 include:
a. 80% of patients will have mild symptoms and recover.
b. About 14% of cases will be more severe, including pneumonia and shortness of breath
c. About 5% will experience critical symptoms.
d. In approx. 2-3% of cases the virus is fatal, more likely seen in older adults.
e. Compromised Immune System = RISK
RESOURCE: COVID-19 Facts Safety Talk
3. Provide and train employees on Safe Work Procedures.
a. Remind workers that their Safety Work Procedures when followed will keep them safe
RESOURCE: Sample Safe Work Procedures
4. Train and practice MENTAL HYGIENE (Manage their emotions to turn off the stress response and turn on restore and repair mechanisms)
a. Getting out in nature helps slow your brainwaves down
b. Express gratitude; you can’t feel fear and gratitude at the same time.
c. Help others, taking the focus off your own challenges
d. Practice mindfulness/meditation
5. Boost your immune system
a. Get 7-8 hours rest ever night
b. Cut out sugar and processed foods, load up on veggies, fruit and healthy fats and proteins
c. Get regular exercise; your body is made to move
6. Share good news
a. When in a positive state of mind, people are 31% more intelligent
b. People need 3 pieces of good news for every 1 piece of bad news to stay positive
RESOURCE: The Happy Broadcast
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