How to keep well in times of social changes

How to keep well in times of social changes

How to keep well in a world where everyday social functioning changes from day to day?

On a psychological level, the new world, under the influence of globalization and rapid technological changes, and lately also climate change as well as war in Ukraine, seems much faster and more unpredictable.

Today’s age requires a new configuration of the self – a different kind of character than the one that was required by the old world with its much more static social structures. As we can see from the example of the start of the Ukraine war, things can change fast.

Therefore, such circumstances require a somewhat different self that can cope with such changes.
While it is not often talked about, a personality is somewhat conditioned by the cultural demands placed on it. The self of the past centuries was static because so were social structures that changed very slowly.

In the past, functioning was more focused on the local community than the global one. Our parents didn’t have news from around the world available in their living room with one click every minute. They did not spend their days in an environment that functioned according to the principles of digital media, where the news we receive one day can be completely out of date within a few days. The values ​​of that time were not determined by trends on Instagram and TikTok and the speed with which they change. The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine…

Today’s situation in the globalized world can change in a few days in ways that can really affect our psychological state. Therefore, it is undeniable that this kind of functioning produces – but also requires – a different kind of sense of our self.

The demand that is put in front of our self is adaptability, ability to adapt almost daily to rapid changes in a globalized and networked world. This is a phenomenon that has already been in progress since the 1960s, but I would say that it has rapidly accelerated in the last two decades. This change has been fostered by the technological revolution, but also by globalization and their interaction.

We are asked to be ready to reconfigure our sense of self every day – as the circumstances – market, political, global – demand.

We experienced a radical form of this with the situation that occurred with the COVID-19 pandemic. In just a few months, we were forced to radically change most of our habits. How to deal with such a world of rapid changes?

It is useful to find ways to grow through things that are occuring, even when they seem overwhelming – like the COVID-19 pandemic or wars. This can help us create a sense of resilience and expand our range of flexibility.

It is also important to take care of yourself during such changes. To give ourselves refreshment and spaces where we can relax, at least temporarily, in order to regain a sense of security in a rapidly changing world. These can be some daily rituals that you will introduce, to which you will return every day, such as yoga, walking, running, listening to music that relaxes you, cooking, reading…one can choose according to your affinities.

These things are important in order to create psychological resilience to deal with the increased stressors that occur in these socio-historical periods.  Meditation and visualization can also help. Meditation can invigorate us and bring us back to a space where we can take a break.

It is also essential to remain connected. Connecting with other people is crucial for our mental health, especially in times of sudden social change. Share what’s stressing you out with the people you care about. When we share our feelings and worries, it helps us feel connected and relieves emotional overwhelm.
It is also important to keep the perspective open, or to find ways to keep it open. Changing circumstances can be a way to new orientations. It is good to meditate on it. Every crisis is also an opportunity for growth, including social ones. It is important not to lose sight of this fact, both individually and collectively.