Several studies have proven the existence of a strong correlation between the human psyche and the state of health. In detail, it is widely demonstrated that excessive stress production produces hormones that immunodepress the body, eventually weakening it.
“The coronavirus represents an invisible threat from which we feel helpless […]” Implicitly Dr. Zanalda, president of the Italian Society of Psychiatry, summarizes in a few words what the coronavirus represents for Italians. Speaking of cognitive epidemic, it seems that people perform irrational actions driven by an excess of stress and panic. In short, it is clear the importance of communication in the management of an emergency such as the Coronavirus. If we feel defenceless, confidence in ourselves, in others and, above all, in the institutions, naturally falls.
Stress and panic are two feelings generated by the human psyche that negatively affect our immune system. The latter is in fact connected to the areas of the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary gland) used for the production of hormones that are closely linked to the immune system. Therefore, our immune defences are lowered if stress acts on the body for a long time, making us more vulnerable to the virus. In this way, man assumes irrational behaviours of pure instinct for survival, born from extremely negative perceptions matured following a communication that obliges, forbids, denies the individual. Examples of irrational behaviour are long queues in supermarkets at night, or raids on the shelves of personal care products.
Panic, fear, anxiety and stress increase the negative perception of our surroundings. The thermometer of anxiety and worry is well above guard level. A level of guarding exceeded even with the (negative) contribution of the mass media. The spread of conflicting and contradictory news has only fuelled suspicion, undermined doubt and made the effect of the psyche on human behaviour uncontrollable. Therefore, it is appropriate to divert oneself from the fixed thinking of the virus, without lowering one’s guard.
During this period, there is no news, headline, radio or digital programme schedule that does not dedicate articles, ink, hours and hours of broadcasting to the theme of the coronavirus.
There is therefore a need for awareness, for trust in science, and already this will make us less vulnerable and more resilient towards the virus. Emotional balance in accepting the real situation and responsible behaviour is the real immune shield in our society.