The Psychological Shift: Dealing with Rapid Onset of Change and the COVID-19 Response

The Psychological Shift: Dealing with Rapid Onset of Change and the COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 is an unprecedented world event. In fact, if we look back over other epidemics such as SARS back in 2003, current reactivity and community response ushers in some parallels witnessed before. However, as the world has encountered a variety of crises over the years, each unprecedented event provides a uniquely different set of variables. COVID-19 has challenged us to now work differently for our own protection. We have risen to a technological age, where telework has presented new opportunities to engage flexibility, structure, and more. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “more than 26 million Americans—about 16% of the total workforce—now work remotely at least part of the time.” However, many jobs require a different level of focus, a different or varying acumen from which engagement of the role typically occurs. The luxury of “choosing” to work from home or going in to work has recently been fundamentally modified as the world deals with the phenomenon of COVID-19. The urgency of arresting the virus has ushered in the need for many organizations to move swiftly into a work from home format, and for many people to self-quarantine. The psychology of working from home is now con-joined by the extraneous variables of family occupying the same workspace. It is a time where we can feel the shock of change, and not just any change but what I will call the ROC or Rapid Onset of Change. This is a term I am borrowing from the medical community and one that emergency room staff know quite well. COVID-19 has not provided us the mental luxury of work-pacing for our lives any longer, as business and educational institutions move rapidly to react and adjust.

This is the first of a four part blog series on adjusting to ROC and how you can adapt to the potentials of this challenge by doing a deeper analysis into a new way of working and living. We will cover in this first exploration an understanding of ROC and how the first of four imperatives will help you manage to the rapid changes occurring in your life now. Please visit this page to read the full blog post.


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Blog Series #2

The Psychological Shift: Building Resilience Amidst Managed Concern


One of the major impacts on our psyche is the “fear” reaction activated. Scarcity, living with unknowns and shifting to a “shut-in” routine ushers in emotional reasoning and potentially other issues such as depression and anxiety. But in many ways, the challenge to extremes can allow us to engage another, more beneficial and important aspect of approaching extreme situations as well as developing our own possibilities through incorporating a “managed concern” perspective. In the next installment, Dr. Luster speaks to the idea of “managed concern” and building resilience through the lens of Maslow's hierarchical structure, but instead, using an inverse triangle to build into ourselves the possibilitries inherent even in emergency crisis events. As well, a look into 3 primary resilience-building components that can help maximize potentials in the shift to a new stage of working and living.



Blog Series # 3

The Psychological Shift: Managing the Stress Arc: Evidence-Based Ways to Control Stress

We know that stress can be hugely impacting how we live and work. In fact, it is one of several potentials symptoms in those who have moved through traumatic situations. Psychologist Dana Rose Garfin, PhD, from the University of California, Irvine alongside other researchers have studied people who experienced acute stress after traumatic events. Their report of findings suggests that “individuals were more likely to have negative long-term mental and physical health outcomes, including poor general health; increased pain, disability, and mortality; increased depression, anxiety and psychiatric disorders; and more family conflict (Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 112, No. 1, 2018). For many, things like compassion fatigue from watching news story after news story sets in, for others who have been dealing with stressful circumstances such as taking in family amidst the outbreak or dealing with friends or loved ones sick, some aspects of vicarious trauma to trauma symptomology can occur. In this installment of the “Psychological Shift.” Dr. Luster will cover the most important steps people can take to not only understanding how each of us deals with stress but resourcing that will help manage the stress arc even better.

Blog Series #4

The Psychological Shift: Decision Making in the wake of COVID-19-What’s Better?

In this the final installment of the 4 part blog series, Dr. Luster examines how we are “currently” processing and rendering decisions in the midst of COVID-19 as he explores the elevation of stress -based decision making witnessed in everything from high-level stakes governmental decisions to large scale corporate operations decisions, to small business owners and families in the wake of COVID-19. The attempt to reconcile emotions and logic can often deadlock people into a “captive mode” of thinking and decision-making. It is a no-options form of thinking that can be harmful in its outcomes. Leaning into the discipline of leadership studies and psychology, Dr. Luster will look at results and research from neuroimaging research and how decision-making under stress can activate the “switch” from our optimal analytical reasoning potentials to suboptimal intuitive processes and how to engage the most optimally beneficial thinking processes to render more effective decision processes in a time of crisis for not only the health of self, but also family, friends, and others effected by the potentials of stress based decision-making.

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