Expert explains why tensions feel high between people

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Tensions are feeling high amid the global pandemic, added stress, protests and politicized issues. A local expert says one of the causes of the high tension between people is because of the pandemic putting brains into survival mode.

“When we’re overwhelmed, we’re able to be more honest and authentic,” said Dr. Shelly Farnan, system director of diversity and inclusion at Burrell Behavioral Health. “We’re less concerned about how others might judge me if I believe one way or another.”

Dr. Farnan says our brains fight through stress and uncertainty best when surrounded by other people, but this time of isolation makes it hard to gauge what impact someone’s words may have on someone else.

According to Dr. Farnan, there are three factors our brains are struggling with. The first factor is being surrounded by COVID-19 changes, the second is social injustice and the last is the political season.

“That’s the second crisis upon the first crisis of the pandemic is this new awareness of the social injustice that has happened for so long,” said Farnan. “And then you put on top of that you put in we’re in the political season. Any one of these would be enough to be overwhelming for our systems, tough to navigate, and we’re dealing with a crisis, upon crisis, upon crisis.”

If you are struggling with mental health, Dr, Farnan says to try intentionally taking time to reflect alone with yourself and with others since going through this pandemic is something everyone has in common.

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