Nowadays, I realize that almost everyone I talk to around me is bored, fed up and has less tolerance. I am also one of those people. Many of us have been studying or working online for over one year. The pandemic process, which we enjoyed with the holiday mode at first, then adapted to online and tried to maintain our lives just like in the normal period, has now become an unbearable process for most of us. We do not care about COVID-19 measures as before. We even follow the numbers of death listlessly or do not follow at all. Mental health experts referred to such situations as psychic numbing. So what is psychic numbing? How can we get through this difficult period in the pandemic?

Psychic Numbing

Psychic numbing is a psychological phenomenon that causes us to feel indifferent to the suffering of large numbers of people. “One life is valuable, but that life loses value, perceptually, if it is part of a larger tragedy,” says Paul Slovic, PhD, a longtime researcher in decision science.

As a matter of fact, when we see a photograph of a person suffering, we all feel great sadness, but if this person is “one of many”, one’s situation is losing its importance. We know that a life is very important, but unfortunately we see almost no difference between the 541st and the 542nd deaths.

Psychic Numbing — The Arithmetic of Compassion
Psychic Numbing — The Arithmetic of Compassion

Or, like the situation we are in now, the prolongation of the pandemic process causes us to be psychologically indifferent to some things. People cannot find the motivation to keep going on in themselves. They do not comply with the measures enough, ignore stay-at-home orders. This situation indirectly shows that we are entering a kind of psychic numbing period, because some people endanger the lives of others, whether they want it or not.

In order to cope with this situation, we must be aware of psychic numbing and motivate ourselves first to help others who are suffering. You can find hundreds of articles online that tell you how to be motivated in the pandemic. However, I would like to draw attention to the easiest and the most important ones. Two things are very effective to overcome the mental breakdown period with the least damage.

1. Sleeping Pattern

How you sleep is one of the most important clues that tell you how your day will be. A good and regular sleep allows you to start the day well. Experts recommend that you should not sleep after 12 a.m. It is very important to be asleep, especially between 11p.m-3a.m, because brain toxins are cleared when you sleep between these times. In addition, the release of the hormone melatonin, which preserves the body’s biological clock and adjusts its rhythm, reaches its highest level at this time of the night.

2. Walking

Walking for at least an hour a day is the best way to reduce stress, and it is a very important factor in the production of serotonin, endorphins and other happiness chemicals. Even if you cannot go out, be sure to move around at home, in the garden, or wherever you are. Everything in the universe is in motion, human and universe cannot be thought independently of each other, therefore we need to keep up with the universe.

If we pay attention to these two basic things every day, this mental breakdown will be tremendously reduced. Let’s not forget that everyone’s life is very important. We must be more sensitive to ourselves and to our environment. I would like to end my writing by changing the quote attributed to Joseph Stalin “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” into “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is also a big tragedy.”


Useful Vocabulary

unbearable(adj): too painful or unpleasant for you to continue to experience

listlessly(adv): in a way that shows you have no energy and enthusiasm and are unwilling to do anything needing effort

indifferent(adj): not thinking about or interested in someone or something

prolongation(noun): the act of making something last a longer time

cope with (someone or something):to manage to deal with someone or something.

draw attention to (oneself, someone, or something): To induce others to look at or focus on oneself, someone, or something.


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Yonca TÜRK