It is important to recognize our pessimistic predispositions, so we may overcome them. When you read the news, make sure that in addition to reading about the latest COVID-19 death count, you also ingest the latest technological, medical and scientific breakthroughs that will bring the pandemic to an end.
With the COVID-19 lockdown upon us, anxiety and depression are on the rise. It would be irresponsible to downplay the risks that coronavirus poses to America’s health and economy. But excessive pessimism is also in no one’s interest. Problems and their purported solutions must be evaluated coolly and dispassionately. Facts, logic, reason and science, not emotions, must guide us in this time of troubles.
Unfortunately, some of our most basic impulses evolved at a time when the world was very different from our own. “Our modern skulls house a stone age mind,” note Leda Cosmides and John Tooby from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The mind can be decidedly harmful in helping us address today’s problems, including those of anxiety and depression.