Covid Mental Heath with Human Givens

covid human givens

Humans have essential emotional needs that must be well met in a balanced way for sustained emotional resilience and health. And we humans have resources that we continuously use as best we can to satisfy these essential emotional needs.  This is the human given’s organising idea and Covid mental health with human givens must begin with this profound understanding.

Understanding Human Givens (a ten minute talk)

Covid Mental Heath with Human Givens means being Safe and in Control

Safety and control are essential human needs. Moreover, these needs are foundational needs. Only if safety and security needs are well met, can we move on to higher order human needs around relationships, the work we do, purpose and meaning. All of this can be seen from the Needs Pagoda

The pagoda is held up by safety and then control and it is these two human needs that form the foundation on which all else is built.

needs pagoda

Covid Mental Heath with Human Givens requires Needs Balance

There is a further essential element to understanding the source of covid mental health with human givens needs and how they all fit together. It is all about balance.

It’s impossible to feel completely safe and attempts to do so will seriously damage our capacity to achieve other needs. Yes, you can in theory live entirely in the safety of your home and never venture out. But, this will erode and diminish your capacity to work well and productively and connect healthily in your community.

The same is true for control. The human need for control is about volition. This means being able to make choices and so make a difference. And for this, your emotions must be heard and be moderate and under your control, at least most of the time.

But it is also about dealing with change, risk and uncertainty and not doing so by retreating into complete protection or control freakish rage.

The fact that something could go wrong does not mean that we are in danger. It means we are alive. Mortality is the sign of life … Experiencing anxiety does not mean that anyone is doing anything to us that is unjust.  It seems that the Covid hysterics are taking up the mantle of victimhood and then construing any resistance as abuse, when really it’s the opposite.

Sarah Shulman, commenting on the Covid induced tyranny of the risk averse 

Covid Mental Heath with Human Givens: Pattern matching – the essential human resource

There is a final point from the Covid mental health with Human Givens rulebook. It is that we humans are pattern matching creatures. We make sense of what happens to us now with reference to what happened before and how we then processed and made sense of that. This is a pattern that we react to by the emotional tag that is attached to it. This is very important – the attached emotion is a critical resource. You could say that this emotional pattern match is the means by which we evolve the capacity to deal with the world. In this of course applies to covid mental health with human givens.

Explaining Emotions (a ten minute talk)

The first few months of coronavirus

It was scary. We didn’t know how dangerous or transmissible the coronavirus was. We had no idea about treatment, nor did we know how health systems would cope. And in response to that fear, rooted in genuine uncertainty, it was natural that strong protective action to keep us safe became the imperative consideration. We looked to the government and the institutions of state to take action to deal with this community wide threat to all of us and though mistakes were undoubtedly made, we interpreted the situation as a unprecedented threat and so we suspended our normal critical faculties.  Explore the emotional pattern match of that memory.

Risk and Uncertainty

With risk, you can assign a probability to the chances of something happening – such as your team winning or you will acquire a deadly disease. You know what the possible outcomes are and you can evaluate probabilities.

With uncertainty, you just don’t know. You don’t know the probabilities and you don’t even know the range of possible outcomes. The future is opaque at best. There are not just known unknowns, but unknown unknowns and even unknown knowns.

Much of our lives are more part of the uncertain than the risky. And when big events happen, we must realise that and perhaps embrace it also.

Resources you can use Now

Resources to use Now

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