Forum: Be confident that we can recover quickly from difficulties

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Singapore has been witnessing a significant increase in the number of people seeking professional help for mental health issues.

Many people hold pessimistic views towards the future, with some worrying about their employment and economic prospects.

But research has found that people tend to overestimate the intensity and duration of their emotional reactions to negative life events, which causes unnecessary anxiety. This inaccurate prediction of our emotion responses is called impact bias in social psychology.

One reason for this bias is that we are often unaware that our psychological defence mechanisms will automatically come into play to help us better cope with reality.

Many of us picked up hobbies like music, art and gardening during the circuit breaker period. Some may argue that we did so because we were bored at home. But subconsciously, we may have taken up such hobbies to help funnel out our negative emotions.

Research has also found that when we try to predict the future, we focus more on material goods rather than relationships. But social support also defines our level of life satisfaction extensively.

The music video for charity song Stuck With U by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber shows real-life clips of people all over the world cuddling, dancing and laughing with their loved ones while stuck at home. It demonstrates that life's difficulties are not that intimidating when we are surrounded by family and friends.

Also, we focus too much on how our life will be different after a life crisis, but overlook how the new life will be similar to the old one.

People should become aware that as human beings, we tend to overestimate the impact of a future event. We should stay optimistic, and have confidence in our ability to recover quickly from difficulties in life.

Bi Yue