I am not a specialist in psychology, neurobiology, epidemiology, infectious disease, or virology, but I earned a bachelor’s degree in general science and biology, and am constantly learning from experts who have devoted their lives to these subjects. Many Americans deny there is a Coronavirus pandemic occurring, many deny this virus can kill humans (we recently lost a parent to Covid-19), many deny that face masks and social distancing can prevent contracting this virus, and many claim there is a conspiracy by the government and/or media about this virus.
However, other countries who are well prepared for this pandemic are beginning to return to a normal life, such as Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Uruguay, Switzerland, just to name a few. Why is that? Why are Americans focusing on denial while other countries are moving forward to recovery?
Firstly, the U.S. government was unprepared for this pandemic while other countries after earlier SARS and MERS virus outbreaks began preparing for this foreseeable novel Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Secondly, when the pandemic spread to the U.S., the government did not provide a consistent message and accurate information to Americans because the novel Coronavirus is new and unknown about its effects on humans. Now, the American public in fear and trepidation are coming up with their own brand of denial and conspiracy theories.
Why is denial and conspiracy theories happening in the U.S.? Fear caused by the Coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis unconsciously stimulates the sympathetic nervous system causing “fight or flight” response within our bodies, including increased adrenaline, cortisol stress hormones, and blood to the muscles. The Amygdala, the emotional center of the brain is activated, instead of the Prefrontal Cortex, where rational thought, decision making and moderating social behavior occurs.
While within the Amygdala of the brain, the brain responds emotionally without rational thought, reasonable decision making, or moderating social behaviors. At this point, the human mind can unconsciously repress traumatic events or consciously suppress feelings of fear through denial and projection.
Denial is the way the mind copes with events outside of our control, and projection is believing feelings we are experiencing belong to others. During projection, others become the enemy, and blame is place on people, events, things, weather, political and social conditions, ethnic groups, foreigners, etc. For example, If I feel afraid, it is because others are doing this to me, or I am not afraid, only others are scared. The mind also finds justifications to reinforce this projection, such as conspiracies.
Once we understand why we are denying and creating conspiracies about the reality before us, and we begin to let go of this repression or suppression of our feelings from fear. We begin to directly address the fear within us, instead of blaming the fear caused or created by others outside of us. Meditation, Reiki Therapy, yoga, spiritual work and counseling can help to ameliorate the body and mind’s responses to fear, and then true healing may begin. May you find healing during the Coronavirus/Covid-10 Pandemic. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved)