RECENT ARTICLES: BEST SELF Magazine Feature: Surviving Coronavirus & Distress

By Bruce Watkins

Greetings Readers and Visitors to Exploring With Bruce!

I wrote an article that was recently published in Best Self Magazine, an online Health and Wellness publication. The article details the difference between Good Stress and Bad Stress (Distress) and what each of us can do to relieve the negative impact of Distress in our lives.

I am excited to share this information, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this article with others, as I believe it can be helpful to many of us. To help you share this informaiton, I have included below a link to the Best Self Magazine article and a link to a PDF copy of the published piece, followed by info on how you can forward this information to others. At the end of this post, I also cover why I became interested in effect of Distress in the first place and how I came to write this article.

It all started when, out-of-the-blue, I reached out to one of the first Americans infected with the Coronavirus, 55-year old Mark Jorgensen. Mark and his wife Jeri were passengers on the now infamous Diamond Princess Cruise Ship that was stranded in Japan. This event happened in early 2020 when the world was frozen with fear over the news of a new and dangerous virus and the possibility of a pandemic. Mark’s comments during our conversation about how he coped with his Distress piqued my interest and mirrored some of my own observations. It was a lightbulb moment. Within days, I had reached out and interviewed respected health experts and researchers in the fields of Medicine, Epidemiology, Psychology, and Human Resilience. The information I received was enlightening, and it helped to explain why we sometimes can not break free of Distress. When I shared these findings with my friends, they said knowing this information helped them to relieve their anxiety.

Click Here to Read: Surviving Coronavirus: Understanding and Discharging Your Distress – from Best Self Magazine

Click Here to view: A PDF Copy of the in Best Self Magazine Article: Surviving Coronavirus: Understanding and Discharging Your Distress

How to Share This Article

If you find this article helpful, please either:

  • Share this blog post via social media with your friends, loved ones, or anyone else you believe could benefit from its information. You can do this by copying the webpage address and pasting it in your social post, or
  • Send an Email with a Copy of this Link to the magazine article:

I have also included below the brief story of how my curiosity led me to research and write this article in the first place. It was humbling how all the pieces fell into place, and I am grateful for how giving and accessible each of the experts were when I reached out to them with my questions.

Thanks, take care and as always …. Love, Bruce

Picture of Surviving Distress Article by Bruce Watkins

Click Here to Read: Surviving Coronavirus: Understanding and Discharging Your Distress – from Best Self Magazine

How I Came To Write This Story

When the pandemic first emerged in early 2020, like most people in the world I tuned into the news. As I watched the coverage of the unfolding health emergency, I started feeling motivated to watch and read more. This seemed appropriate enough in light of the crisis, but I noticed something else was happening.

As I watched the reports and spoke to friends about the events, I realized I was feeling a little more on edge, more focused, and emotionally involved in the topic. So much so that I was feeling a bit anxious and frustrated. I soon realized I was not the only one feeling this way.

When observing others, I saw a similar emotional response. Watching more carefully, I noticed that they were consuming more and more news reports about the emerging pandemic. As they did, I could see an increase in their level of stress about COVID-19. But it did not stop there. They had increased anxiety about our society’s response to the health crisis, and eventually, these anxious feelings spilled over into other areas in their lives.

You would think if someone was getting stressed-out when doing something, they would stop doing it. But just the opposite was happening. At times it appeared that they couldn’t stop watching the news. Their daily conversations with others would orbit back again and again to the scary illness and climate of fear in the world. Their broader life fell away as they focused more and more on these topics and their emotions about them. They seemed, …. addicted.

As these behaviors continued, their attitudes were also deteriorating as quickly as their pessimism was skyrocketing. I had seen this type of anxiousness before. During natural disasters, the death of loved ones, or deadly terrorist attacks, etc., the looping cycle of pain and inability for people to affect change rendered people helpless, angry, and depressed.

Seeing this unfold, I began to notice some patterns emerging. As I researched the physical and psychological effects of Distress, several dots started connecting. I decided to validate my observations and the cause and effect information I was reading about with some experts. Their feedback was insightful, so I coupled this information with my observations, and this was how the article was born.

I would like to send a special word of thanks to two of the experts I interviewed:  Dr. Eva Ritvo, Miami, Florida-based psychologist, and author of Bekindr: The Transformative Power of Kindness. Her down-to-earth explanations of the causes of distress help galvanize several core points of this article. I also interviewed Jamie Aten, Phd., the founder of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and the Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College. We discussed his study of people in crisis situations, and how our social networks can add to our distress. His insights were also enlightening and they likely will appear in one or more follow-up articles that will explore more deeply our distress also has a social impact on each other.  

Click Here to view: A PDF Copy of the in Best Self Magazine Article: Surviving Coronavirus: Understanding and Discharging Your Distress