The virus has real there is a real threat, but we being humans as we are, tend to do things maybe a little bit irrationally as we head forward.
Dr. Roger Hall has some tips of how we navigate around this and live some semblance of a calmer life.
News radio presents the Todd Orloff show. Now from Port Angeles, it’s Todd Orloff. Welcome once again to the program, going to spend the first segment today, talking with Dr. Roger Hall about overcoming our irrational fears around the Corona virus crisis. So certainly I think we all have it. We’re all freaking out one way or another. The virus has real there is a real threat, but we being humans as we are, tend to do things maybe a little bit irrationally as we head forward. And we’re going to get into talking about something called social proof and also perhaps some tips of how we navigate around this and live some semblance of a calmer life. So dr. Hall, thanks for joining us on the phone today. Oh, I’m grateful to be here. So let’s talk just about that. Tell us about social proof. Cause that’s really a big part of what we have here. I mean, this, this is why we hoard toilet paper, for example.
Yeah. Yeah, it was, I was actually listening to the, the news highlights before I came on and it talked about a volunteer fire department, putting out a fire in big cities. One of the biggest problems fire departments have is proud control because you know, a fire truck goes by. Somebody seems to firetruck, they start running after it. And then other people say they look around, they see other people chasing after it, before, you know, you’ve got a crowd of people gathered around a firetruck and a burning building, which is not really the smartest thing to do, but human beings, it’s one example of human beings when we’re unsure of what to do, we look around to see what other people are doing and imitate that. I think we see this with, with math. If there isn’t a, if there isn’t a statewide or citywide ordinance, if you walk into a place and no one’s wearing a mask and you’ve got one in your pocket, you don’t put it on. But if you walk into a place and everybody’s wearing a mask, you put it on because when we’re unsure what to do, we look around and see what other people are doing. Imitate them.
I would call that peer pressure. I guess that’s a little bit at that, but, but maybe that’s different than what we would call peer pressure.
No, one’s actually telling you, you ought to do this. Yeah, it’s just, we don’t know. So we, so we do it. This is the same thing happened with toilet paper. You’re walking down the, and most of the toilet paper issues have been resolved. You know, the supplies are back up, but when you walk down the aisle and you see, you know, you, you think at home, I’ve got plenty of toilet paper, but they’re low. I need to stock up because the empty shelves are evidence that everyone’s buying extra toilet paper. And so we think we need to do the same, even though objectively at home, you know, we’ve got, we’ve already got, you know, pallets of toilet paper and we get a little bit more.
Exactly. All right. So there is industry developed around this. I mean, I work in an industry. That’s all about this. I mean, if it bleeds, it leads, we put things out there intentionally or unintentionally to, you know, kind of stoke this this fear, if you will, it gets people to, you know, react to it. True. Right. And I, and I think we, and it, and it sounds like this just builds upon itself. As you watch the reaction to people seeing what’s on the news, seeing what what’s happening in their neighborhood, that sort of thing.
Oh, well, absolutely. And, and I don’t mean to throw all of the media under the bus, but you’ve got bills to pay and advertisers fund what you do and they want to make sure in your case, there are ears listening to what you’re saying. There’s never going to be a news crew that comes to my backyard and says, we’re in Rogers, Hall’s backyard. There’s a squirrel film at 11. No one still walks that. So, so they, they are going, you know, news news organizations are looking for stories that, that are unusual. And the unfortunate thing is the more we listen to stories that are unusual, the more we believe they are usual. And, and it, it it’s Hughes our perception of reality. So if you, if you asked local news Watchers and non local news washers about estimates and prime in their city, I mean, obviously guess local news washers have higher estimates, but what you may not guess is that non news washers are more accurate. And if we soak in if we soak in information that says, it’s bad, guess what we believe it’s bad disproportionate to reality.
Why is it that we CA we lose our ability? It seems like to make critical thoughts critical thinking goes out the window. And just, as you mentioned, the more we get engaged or involved in maybe following a story, it seems like we get less critical thinking going on. We get caught up in the, in the narrative, if you will.
Yeah. And that’s, and that’s because we have two, two parts of our brain that are fighting each other at these times. And the part of our brain that gets, that gets activated is broadly speaking the limbic system. And particularly two structures called the amygdala. We definitely want the amygdala working because that’s what keeps us alive. Fear keeps us alive. It’s a very adaptive strategy. You know, if I see a wild cat I should be afraid, well, if I’m out in the woods and I’m coming up with a love poem for my wife and I’m doing some long division, cause I’m trying to figure out my budget. And I see a Wildcat, what happens to my ability to do poetry and long division?
It’s out the window. Yeah.
It’s out the window because we don’t need it when we’re running away from a wild cat. But when we’re not re this is the same war that goes on in our brain, when we get ourselves hopped up and afraid of things that will hurt us, that the limbic system essentially shuts down, it’s called a limbic, hijacking. It shuts down the part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex that does our abstract reasoning and rational thought because in the middle of running away from a mountain lion or a poisonous snake, we don’t need to do long division or love poetry or be rational. We just need to get out of there.
And it’s also why I know that you get paranoid. You go to the store, you start not making a rational thought pattern. For example, go to the beach. You, you, you started thinking I’m going to be attacked by a shark. Well, the chances of you being attacked by a shark are actually pretty low. But you only remember jaws on television. You that’s, what’s formulating your opinion on things and your, your, your rationale, if you will.
And we allow context, the context of of an instance to to, to shape what we think our risks are. So for example, you talked about the beach what’s the most likely way you’re going to die at the beach. And, and if I ask you a group of people, they say like shark attack, especially shark week was on jellyfish, standing, drowning, sun poisoning, heat stroke, all of those things. Drought. Yeah, Browning. It said that the way you’re most likely to die at the beach is from heart disease, because that’s the most likely way you’re going to die anywhere. Right? So we miss, we miss apprehend our risks all the time. And, and, and the coven pandemic is real. People are dying. We have, we had decent numbers on that, but we misapprehend our risk. There are plenty of things and it’s a little bit toe to toe right now, but, but heart disease is still a greater problem than the coronavirus this year, but we’re never talking about heart disease.
Yeah. Yeah. It could you imagine if, as much talking about those types of things as we are about coronavirus, we’d probably have a healthier society in general. Let’s talk about some strategies for people because you know, we’re wearing on this things going on months and months and months, it’s probably going to continue to go on what, what can we do so that we can get our mind in a place where, you know, we’re not thinking we’re going to get eaten by a shark. If we go to the beach, I’m using that again as an analogy, but in all of this, give us a couple of strategies.
Yeah. Well, what I’m, what I’m going to say is maybe not good for your news department and they’re going to scold you for having me on, but one of the things is to limit your information. Yeah. the, when we are afraid and we can’t control something, we shift into information gathering and, and we see this over and over. And, and, and you’ve probably got friends or family members who are spending inordinate amounts of time on the internet, researching COBIT and researching the numbers and transmission. And my recommendation is limit the amount of time each day that you’re going to investigate the thing you’re afraid of. So I look at the news for, you know, eight to 10 minutes in the morning. Sometimes I’ll look at it. And at mid day for eight to 10 minutes and in the evening, eight to 10 minutes which is different than a person who spends, you know, all, you know, all Thursday evening pouring over the statistics. Right.
Okay. I’ll give you that much. As long as they tune into this show, I, I’m fine. Yeah.
This is the show. And you’re at the top of the hour, you got five minutes,
But I get it. And I get guilty of this too. And a little of that is how we get into what I call Google MD. When somebody has some sort of an ailment, what do we do when we’re all worried about a diagnosis, we start looking it up, try to find information. And usually you’re way off base because you’re not even close to what’s really going on, but that’s just because we’re wired this way. It sounds like,
Well, we are, we, we, when we can’t control something, we seek to get as much information as possible. The great, they’re a great example I have with this is the weather channel. Nobody controls the weather, but the weather channel makes about a half, a billion dollars a year telling us what the weather is going to be. Well, I mean, you know, I can look out my window and say what the weather is going to be, but, but because we can’t control it, we seek information. So I would limit information. I would, I would choose sources of information that don’t have a financial investment in your eyes on their page or on their screen. And then monitor, how does this make you feel if you, if, and most of us we’re, we’re we’re so in the middle of the freakout that we don’t realize I’m freaking out and I don’t like this, so monitor how you’re feeling.
So some distraction would be really good for, for the short run, find things that are positive, uplifting, entertaining to fulfill that. And then I would encourage you to look at past health disasters. You know, when, when we were in the 1980s, as bad as AIDS has been the, the news media extrapolated this to pretty much wiping out the human race and it as bad as it has been. All I ever think about is magic Johnson. Who’s been HIV positive since the 1980s, we now have effective treatments. We have no cure, but we have effective treatments so that people can live long, productive, happy lives with the disease. And so it’s easy to, I think the best job in the world is a futurist because by the time we’re in the future, people forgot what you predicted. So I would encourage people. Don’t, don’t go to the worst possible scenario, because if you look back at history, it’s never been the worst possible scenario.
And then also that I know you have one more thing is to take reasonable precautions with all that. I think if we were able to kind of clear our heads a bit, we probably would take more reasonable approaches to how we deal with life, how we navigate COVID-19 right now, for example.
Yeah. I mean, when we, when we get in the car, we put on the safety belt, I mean, that’s a reasonable precaution, but if we want it to be absolutely safe, we’d never drive her car more than five miles an hour, but then all of life is a risky event and we weigh risks from benefit. And I think most Americans would say, yes, we enjoy the benefit of driving 65 miles an hour, more than we want absolute safety in our cars. So take reasonable precautions. But you know, if you’re in a place where you, you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go there. If you, if you’re in a place where you feel like you want to wear a mask or, or use hand sanitizer do that, but don’t stop your life. Right. Because that, that is another one.
Yeah. And that’s, yeah. And I think that’s a, that’s an even a bigger risk longterm, wouldn’t you agree? Because we’re not made to be isolated. We’re not made to not have any sort of outlet to to we’re made to live. Right.
Well, yeah. And human beings are more far more like dogs and cats we’re pack animals. We like to be around each other. And so, you know, I’ll take the futurist role right now. Cause it’s an easy bet. I believe the new normal will include concerts and we’ll include sporting events and we’ll include people going out and dining again. I believe human beings like to gathering groups and we will do that again.
Yeah. And I think it’s going to be sooner than you might think. I think we’ll get some treatments going and then a vaccine and some other things. And if nothing else, it’s going to give people some more confidence and maybe get them back off of the the edge of of their fear level. Because I think that’s also driving. This is just fear of what might happen, not what really will happen.
Yeah. And, and, and, and we can all imagine the worst case scenario that that helps us helps keep us alive. But, but the reality is the worst case scenario hardly ever happen in real life. And so bad things are gonna happen to lots of people there have been and will continue to be vulnerable people who succumb to this illness. And that is in those individual situations tragic as the society. However, we will recover. And I, I just keep pointing people back to 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which had higher a higher percentage of mortality. And in 19, not 18, it looked pretty bad. Everybody was wearing masks. Everybody was washing their hands. You couldn’t get on a trolley car without a mask. And in 1920 was the beginning of the roaring twenties with speakeasies and jazz clubs. And nobody was,
Yeah, exactly. Didn’t go with a flapper dress very well.
No it didn’t. And so I think if, if we look at history, we’re not that much different than the people were in the 1920s, we will go back to being together.
Yeah. And our medicine is way better now than it was even in the 1920s too. So we’ve got that guy. Absolutely. Alright. Roger Hall also does this kind of work with people as far as the training them as an executive coach for entrepreneurs and leaders look him up because he can kind of help you get your mind. Right. I think, and appreciate having you on Roger. Nice talking with you.
I’m grateful to be here today. Thank you so much.
Alright. That’s Dr. Roger Hall there a little bit about overcoming our irrational fears around the coronavirus virus crisis and, and really kind of irrational fears about anything and getting over kind of the hard wiring we as humans have about how we get to the panic mode so quickly. We’ll take a break in the back with more in a moment. This is Todd Orloff show on news radio.