Coping during crisis, the way nature does.

Posted: April 13, 2020
Category: Anxiety, COVID-19, Grief

by Pablo Reina

A crisis is any situation where we perceive a threat that surpasses our current capacity/ resources to cope.
We are living extraordinary and challenging times where, probably for the first in known history, the whole world is experiencing the same thread, the same crisis.
Luckily there is already a lot of useful information on how to deal with the current thread of Covid-19. In this post I will talk about how to cope in broader terms with any crisis.

It is my understanding that when we are dealing with a complex issue, we can divide to look at one of its smaller parts, and usually find that what resolves a smaller part can bring resolution to the rest of the parts.

We can look at how nature’s intelligence operates at the smallest scale to resolve crisis.

When a virus enters the human body, a new cell is activated to design an antibody protein. The cell doesn’t know exactly which new antibody is required to neutralise pathogen. Therefore if produces many types of antibodies through DNA and tests them by matching them with the toxic virus.When one of the antibodies is able to adjust and neutralise virus, the cell then multiplies the production of such antibodies, those antibodies are very sensitive and learn the properties of the virus to adjust/neutralize it better.

This process of antibodies learning how to neutralise virus and multiplying is called Affinity Maturation.  Medication accomplishes this action when Doctors know body will struggle to find antibodies by itself. Even with Coronovirus, most people infected will develop the antibodies naturally. The ones who don’t it will be because their body cannot cope for long with the stress of the inmune battle and their health deteriorates fatally before their inmune system finds the right formula. Once the antibodies have adapted and multiplied to neutralise the virus, they will retain the information of the configuration needed to block the pathogen. This is the way evolution works at a cellular level. The cells have now new information and are configured to deal with the experienced threat, they will pass this information to the future cells.

coping during crisis covid

An interesting question to ask is how can we replicate this dynamic in our lives when any crisis occurs?
Can we first slow down and learn as much as possible about the threats we are experiencing?
Can we brainstorm and test all possible solutions we can identify?
Can we then double down on the solution (s) that seem to work?

coping during crisis covid

A crisis demands sensitivity to the thread and the willingness to try new things. To adapt and to change into  newer versions of ourselves. Another interesting question to reflect upon in times of crisis is: what type of person do I have to become to deal with this threat?. If we cannot come with an answer right away, lets remember how nature does: it creates random solutions and tests them. Experience is the way forward, the ruler of right action.
In times of sickness  our strength and energy diminishes significantly, this is because we are fighting a toxic agent and our body sends most of its resources and energy to such task.  This means we need to take extra care of ourselves during these times.

Extra care means prioritising in our lives the basics of wellbeing: rest, nutrition, distraction, safety and connection to significant others, to identify purpose(s) that bring meaning to our lives. If we do this in a healthy manner ( healthy as in not much energy expenditure is required), we will be helping our innate resources and will be effectively coping.

The better we get, on one side, at exploring and testing solutions to threats. And, on the other side, at providing extra self-care to ourselves. The better positioned we  are to provide support for others. But the person who is overwhelmed by a thread and not managing his/her basic needs correctly will not be able to help others much. It is a matter of available energy.

During times of crisis, it is expected to be at times overwhelmed with anxiety and grief.

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