Professor Eugenio Proto, an expert in behavioural economics at the Adam Smith Business School, contributed to a panel of economists, sociologists, behavioral scientists, and public policy experts from institutions in 15 countries to answer questions which could lead to better wellbeing policy.
It is becoming clear that, although we are beginning to phase out of the strictest forms of lockdown, the ways we live will be altered for the coming months. Therefore, it is vital the both individuals and governments work together to understand how to cope with these changes.
This survey, conducted by the World Wellbeing Panel (WWP) asked a simple question of the experts:
“How can we maintain wellbeing during isolation while facing huge emotional stress from the threat of the COVID-19 virus?”
At a policy level, the WWP survey highlighted that:
- Extensive social isolation can have serious mental and physical health implications, even among well-prepared groups like scientists and astronauts.
- Mentally and emotionally healthy citizens restart economies, create markets, pay taxes; those who are mentally and emotionally unhealthy will be incapable of resuming normal lives, a long-term cost for society.
- Therefore it is important to maintain social interactions (both digitally and in person when/where it is possible).
Individually, the experts made it clear that it is important:
- Important to maintain social interactions (with special emphasis to giving to others)
- Develop strategies to deal with negative thinking
- Reflect on one’s own life and future,
- Organise the day to include healthy habits
- Face fears – put fears into perspective and see them as normal and something that can
ultimately be accepted