The amount of uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus is causing anxiety and fear, some of it valid and helpful, some of it unhelpful. Let’s see if we can sort through this situation to help get to a healthier place mentally and emotionally in these uncertain times.
The human brain is an amazing organ that has helped us survive and evolve as a species for millions of years. Our brains have an amazing ability to anticipate and avoid or reduce the impact of future dangers based on the past and current circumstances. When the anticipatory processes of the brain match the severity of threat and danger, this is a helpful and adaptive feature. However, when there is a lot of uncertainty about a situation, due to it being novel, and a lack of data to the actual danger level — as is the situation with the coronavirus — the brain will try to anticipate the level of potential threat without accurate data and information.