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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Compassion

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Yes, it’s very possible to give yourself too much of a break

Photo: PM Images/Getty Images

Maria wanted to make a budget. The 27-year-old customer experience representative — newly married and normally quite organized — had put herself in charge of the task in the hopes of socking away some extra savings. Then the pandemic hit, and all budgeting bets were off. Instead of wrapping up her remote-work days in front of a new spreadsheet, she’d stretch for an hour of yoga to temper the general overwhelm she felt. “I’d say to myself, ‘This is what you need right now,’” she tells Elemental. Maria said it almost every day.

It was, Maria reasoned, the self-compassionate thing…


The neuroscience of treating people well

Martha’s Table volunteers help distribute hundreds of free hot meals during the pandemic on April 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

We’ve heard how deadly Covid-19 is. We all now know science terms we’d never imagined learning, like “R naught” (the term for how quickly a virus replicates) and “flatten the curve.” This pandemic has also infected us with fear, frustration, anger, and anxiety — which have left many of us feeling exhausted and defeated, wondering when this will all end.

With no clear end in sight, uncertainty infects our brains, urging us into action. Instances of pent-up aggression are increasingly aired on the internet when a bystander catches someone going off the rails, yelling at someone else for not wearing…


Science explains why there’s a loss of human compassion during pandemics

Illustrations: Virginia Gabrielli

Since Washington state, where I live, instated its stay-at-home order over 100 days ago, I’ve noticed a number of changes in my behavior. First, the novelty of the Zoom hangouts wore off, and I found connecting with friends and family over video chat left me feeling more drained than fulfilled. I found this baffling, especially as an extrovert. Next, my fiancé noticed that I was getting snippier. …


Research into what motivates our supportive behaviors

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

In times of crisis, it is common to valorize putting others first. Yet, you might wonder whether being the kind of person who puts others first is unequivocally good. There’s a current of resistance to this idea in popular culture — “That’s the problem with putting others first; you’ve shown them that you come second” is a common aphorism. And experts are emphasizing the importance of self-care and the risks of self-neglect in these stressful times.

So, which is it?

Recent research in philosophy and psychology suggests it depends. Tending to put others first can be very good for you…


They’re tending to others while trying to stay healthy themselves. Here are the best ways to show your support.

Photo: LucaLorenzelli/Getty Images

Tina Caamano and her 83-year-old diabetic father developed fever, difficulty breathing, and cough at the same time. At the advice of her dad’s doctor, she called 911 — and the two shared an ambulance to the hospital emergency room, while Caamano’s 82-year-old mother stayed home by the phone. After nearly an entire night in the ER, during which time her dad got a room but Caamano was parked in the hallway, the two were tested (tests for both came back positive) and sent back home. …

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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