Fear and uncertainty seems to be the lifeblood of Fake News, as the only reason why such information continues to spread or become viral is because it is shared by those who are fearful and are in seek of answers.
COVID-19 has dominated all media sources for over a year now and some of the articles and information shared often leaves you with more questions than answers – and can even take you from a safe and happy feeling to one of uncertainty and fear.
Whether seeking answers or simply going about your daily routine, you may come across an article, voice note or social media post that seems to tickle your sense of fear and uncertainty. Queue the amygdala. It’s that part of the brain that primes you to react — it causes your heart to race, your muscles to tense and your pupils to dilate — even before your brain itself can figure out if you should be scared or not.
The brain learns, and therefore, you may no longer become scared when a dog barks or you hear a car screeching. You may look first and think twice before acting. However, if you are bombarded every hour with a dog barking and cars screeching, you’d be brainwashed into thinking that every dog wants to bite you and every car wants to hit you. You would lose control over that analytical part of your brain which is the key to controlling runaway fear and uncertainty.
Living in an era dominated by information overload from Social Media and Cable Networks, both spreading news in pandemic fashion on articles of COVID-19, Social Distancing, Lockdowns and Vaccines it is easy to be overruled by the amygdala and start believing everything that comes your way. Or worse, sharing everything you receive, thereby adding to the fear and uncertainty of others close to you.
If you can become aware of your fear of the Coronavirus as merely a manifestation of your amygdala’s request for more information rather than a signal of impending doom, then you are on your way to calming down and engaging more conscious, logic-dominated parts of your brain. At that point, you can assess the rationality of your fear and take steps to deal with it.
Some of those steps include:
- Verifying information before sharing
- Reading only from official / authorized sources regarding COVID-19
- Engaging in the required precautions of sanitization, social distancing and mask wearing
- Obeying the laws and guidelines set out to help curb the spread
- THINKing before POSTing or SHARing