How has the pandemic changed our behavior?

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social restrictions and health fears generated changes in behavior and communication. But have these changes become permanent? In this Special Feature, we examine how and why the pandemic may have changed the way we behave and interact. We also spoke with three experts for insight into this emerging societal phenomenon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has set the tone for a “new normal” of health and well-being. This feature series aims to empower readers to take control of their mental and emotional health.

COVID-19, with all the variants of the virus that causes it, has unquestionably affected people across the globe. The disease itself or the stress, uncertainty, and fear it has created touched most people in one way or another. Yet, despite its known immediate effects, the pandemic’s lasting impact on society is not fully understood. Dr. Mirela Loftus, medical director at Newport Healthcare, told Medical News Today: “The pandemic has had a very real, very personal impact on people’s lives.

Whether an individual was personally sick, lost someone they loved to COVID-19, lost their job, or ‘just’ struggled with isolating stay-home orders and global panic, each of us was affected differently, and many profoundly.” According to research, from shopping, working, and school to traveling and entertainment — the pandemic has changed how people navigate daily life. In addition, it has produced a state of uncertainty multiplied by economic and cultural fears.

But has this changed overall human behavior and communication long-term? And if so, how does society begin to recover from these changes?

Research suggests that public responses to widespread disease have remained mostly unchanged since the Black Death, in the 14th century. Moreover, previous pandemics have also caused significant upheaval and widespread changes in social and socio-economic structures.

Prof. Marina Bluvshtein, professor and president of the International Association of Individual Psychology at Adler University, told MNT: “There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all in understanding how people respond to a stressful situation, whether the situation is unique for one person, one group, or it leads to a mass stress-fueled response.

We’ve ridden waves of the pandemic — entering it in 2020, throughout its ongoing effects over the course of 2 years, and now […] we are hopefully coming out of it.

The waves are epidemiological, social, economic, and political – really a big storm.”

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