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Past, Present and Future: What Causes Emotional Crisis?

Amit Sharma is a Research Scholar at Kurukshetra University, Haryana, India. He is fond of writing on contemporary and emerging issues.

COVID - 19 Pandemic and Emerging Crises

Today matters more than tomorrow and live in the present because the real happiness is hidden in it. But, do we live in it? During this pandemic time, people are anxious, stressed and emotionally disturbed. They are gradually becoming pessimistic day by day. The question arises before us that who is responsible for all these? If one says COVID -19, the answer is probably not accurate and complete. It's a matter of fact that most of the countries have witnessed the crises in the health and economic sector. Nowadays, the people are undergoing unprecedented changes in the different aspects of their work and life. Many have lost their loved ones. Those who are alive are psychologically panicked. It is hard not to infer that these crises are the consequences of;

  • Severity of the virus,
  • Deficiencies in the systems, and
  • Various measures taken by the government to contain its spread.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if one says that the people are battling against two pandemics simultaneously, one is the COVID - 19 and another is the pandemic of crises.

Emotional Crisis

Apart from the economic and health crisis, it's also apparent that the people are struggling with another crisis during this pandemic time named emotional crisis or psychological crisis. It includes;

  • Depression,
  • Mental disorder,
  • Anxiety,
  • Addiction of alcoholic products and drugs,
  • Insomnia, and
  • Suicidal thoughts.

No one should mistake in considering the emotional crisis like other ones. The emotional crisis is the one which is not comparable with other crises in terms of its nature, severity and treatment. Because it's directly related to human psychology and requires a great deal of attention in a totally different way. During this pandemic, it becomes imperative to manage this crisis. Because, no one knows how long this pandemic would last but it’s apparent that it has left an impression in the mind of the people which would last for a long time.

Emotional Crisis and Its Reason?

The psychological crisis or emotional crisis, whatever one may call it, is more severe and prominent one. Because if one can manage emotional crisis and is having good mental health, it wouldn’t be a big deal to manage and bear the other crises to a greater extent. But it’s not an easy task. One’s past, present and future play a very significant role in that. There might be several reasons for emotional distress. The people have lost their family members, friends and neighbors during the devastating second wave of the COVID - 19 pandemic. Many have no jobs in hand, they are jobless nowadays. These reasons are enough to disturb the psychology and mental health. That's why, the number of distressed and depressed people is proliferating day by day.

We can exist physically only in the present, neither in the past nor in the future, because no one can go back to the past and, the future always comes to us in the form of a present day.

— Amit Sharma

Past vs Present and Future vs Present

One should know that remembering the past moments of happiness and blaming the present ones could exacerbate the emotional crisis further. In the simple words, ruminating on the past means allowing it to dominate and ruin the present. The issue is not confined to that. Even the people who are alive and didn't encounter any misfortune events are not happy, too. They should be grateful to God. But it's not like that because they have fallen themselves into the trap of future. In the simple words, they have become the victim of over-thinking, over-analyzing and over-anticipating. First of all they engage themselves in framing the different scenarios for the future and then anticipating the results of these scenarios. This case is unlike the previous one. In this case, the future dominates the present and ruins it, too. Therefore, it can be said that pandemic has significantly added to the severity of emotional crisis.

Who Is Being Affected?

Undoubtedly, every section of the society is anguished due to the pandemic and its consequences. The students are apprehensive about their future and career plans. The businessmen and professionals are facing decline in their profits and revenues which further causing them to dwell upon the future circumstances to make the strategies and plans for the survival of their business in the post-pandemic era. Those who have lost their jobs are searching for avenues of new jobs to earn livelihood for their families. They're conjecturing about their worst future jobless condition. Finally, those who are on the brink of geezer hood are worried about their health. They’re ruminating on whether they would be able to keep themselves healthy and fit during and after this pandemic. One should think about all these issues but it’s also true that overthinking wreaks havoc on the mental health.

If you are the same as you were yesterday, you are living in the past, if you only want to change yourself, you are living in the future, but if you are continuously improving yourself, you are living in the present.

— Amit Sharma

How Emotional Crisis Influences Our Decision Making Ability?

A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in the year 2013 shows that dwelling on the past mistakes, shortcomings and problems endangers the one's mental health. Overthinking kills the problem-solving skills. Thinking too much about the future makes a person indecisive. One may even feel anxious at the time of taking small and simple decisions like what to wear in the party, which flavor of ice-cream to eat, what color of specs would suit me and so on. It happens because overthinking makes one more focused and inclined towards the problem rather than the solutions. That’s why, simple decisions become like life-or-death decisions. It can be said that thinking too much about the future is more severe for the mental health than recalling the past events. The reason might be a fact that a human mind is used to forget the past events with the passage of time. Always remember, ruminating is never a solution to solve a problem rather it prevents one from acting productively in the present.

Happiness and Emotional Distress

Needless to say that happiness has considerable power to heal our body, mind, and soul. What could be better than being the happiest person to have a healthy body and mind. One has to learn to seek happiness in the present moments to overcome the mental stress especially during this pandemic time. It can be seen that some people are happier than others even the level of happiness is different in the different countries. Now the question arises before us 'What things make them happiest than others?'

Happiness and its Determinants

The United Nation Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes World Happiness Report every year. As per the report published in the March, 2021, Finland ranked number one on the list for the 4th year consecutively as shown in the Table 1. The rank is determined by considering various factors like Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDP), social support system, heathy life expectancy, freedom and independence in making life choices, educational system, generosity, and absence of corruption in the government and the business world. These factors, though external, have a significant influence on the happiness level of the people. Notwithstanding, the role of self-perception, internal satisfaction and motivation cannot be ignored. The people are often guided by their perception and experiences while they give their feedback on the influence of these factors in their lives.

Table 1
Happiest Countries in the World 2021
Source: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/happiest-countries-in-the-world

CountryHappiness RankHappiness Score

Finland

1

7.809

Denmark

2

7.646

Switzerland

3

7.56

Iceland

4

7.504

Norway

5

7.488

Netherlands

6

7.449

Sweden

7

7.353

New Zealand

8

7.3

Austria

9

7.294

Luxembourg

10

7.238

Happiness and Internal Factors

Now it's clear that the happiness is determined not only by the external factors but also by the perception, personality, tolerance, motivational level, positivity and attitude of the people. No one can deny the fact that the past experiences play a very significant role in the formation of the perception in the present when people apperceive the things. For instance, past incorrupt actions of the government help in building a strong confidence, trust and faith among the general public in the present time. Some considerable reasons behind the top rank of the Finnish people in the happiness report are the low level of corruption, extensive welfare benefits and their inherent freedom and independence to make life choices. These factors certainly help them focus on their present rather than become anxious towards their future. This might be the reason behind such a good score of life expectancy in Finland i.e., 81.6 years which renders this country at 21st rank in it in the world.

Four things that you need to abandon to get success are;

F: Fear of Failures,

O: Overconfidence and Overthinking,

U: Underestimation of your skills and abilities, and

R: Regret.

— Amit Sharma

Wrapping It Up

The foremost requirement is that the people should be grateful to God. The reason might be their survival after the passage of the devastating second wave. But it's not like that. Most of the people are contemplating too much the coming waves, variants, mutations and strains of the virus. But they should understand that they are alive not to dwell on the past and the future rather to devotedly act in the present. Both past and future are confined only to the mental phenomena in the present moment. The events those have passed and mistakes those have been committed have become the part of the history. The future outcomes are dependent on what and how a person do in the present. Therefore, forgetting the past and future and concentrating on the present moment could help a person become more productive in the present and in the future endeavors as well.

Live in the Present Moment

One should act with the devotion, dedication and due-diligence in the present. In other words, one has to learn to live in the present. The present has considerable power to change the future. Because only present offers the opportunity to act. Whereas the past and the future are like illusions that make one fall into the trap of overthinking, over-analyzing and over-anticipating. Unfortunately, if there would be a new wave or a new variant of COVID -19, we would be battling against it someday and that 'someday' will also be a present. So don't be panicked, just live the present moment because solutions of many problems are hidden in the womb of it. Now there is a need to dwell profoundly to answer a question “Do you live in the present? If yes, then you are strongly fighting against the pandemic and emotional crisis as well. In the end, I assure you that you would definitely overcome it.

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© 2021 Amit Sharma

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