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Social Distancing Impact

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles

By: Dr. Leonard Gallagher

Dr. Leonard Gallagher

Do we like change?  Sometimes.  Do we like change we do not create? No.

Whew!  What a month March was.  It started like most every other March for us.  Anticipating spring, spring break and warming temperatures was normal.  None of us knew what was coming.  We did not know a new normal was coming.  Social distancing.

Social distancing has altered our life as the new normal.  Perhaps we work from home.  Perhaps we are not allowed to work.  Perhaps our kids or us were in school.  No one is attending school, not in person anyway. We no longer go to movie theaters, concert venues, band concerts, school activities or sporting events.  When we buy groceries, we must carefully consider proximity to other people. Social distancing.

Not interacting in close proximity with other people is social distancing, which creates anxiety.  We are social beings. Interacting with other people promotes our sense of well being - with enhanced release of serotonin.  Close interpersonal conversations promotes our need for understanding - with enhanced release of oxytocin.  This prohibition to refrain from our typical, life long pattern of interpersonally socializing with others is unprecedented.  This denial enhances our fear responses. Social distancing. 

Under threat of fear, our limbic system is activated more readily. Our neocortex, with it’s unending abilities to consider all possibilities, becomes partially deactivated.  Our limbic brain areas, principally the amygdala and hippocampus, rush in with clarity.  This part of our brain is exquisitely attuned for survival - fight, flee or freeze.  To get through your new normal, your prior life stressors and challenges become more difficult.  In the new now, your limbic system is over working - chronically releasing noradrenaline and cortisol.  You become emotionally and physically fatigued.  Social distancing.

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

About the Author...

We can help you with the new normal, the new now of social distancing. We offer Teletherapy through the safe, easy platform

Click here to contact or learn more about Dr. Leonard Gallagher

Last Update: 4/3/2020

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