Join SA Current Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Need a Better State of Mind During the Coronavirus Lockdown? Remember to Communicate, San Antonio Prof Says

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:10 AM

click to enlarge PEXELS / ANDREA PIACQUADIO
  • Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Trinity University professor Erin Sumner doesn’t like the term “social distancing.” As a scholar of interpersonal communication, she knows that for us to thrive during this time of physical separation, we can’t stop being social animals.

“Let’s call it ‘physical distancing,’ which is a better description for what we should be doing,” Sumner said. “Socially, we should be engaging even better than before. That’s what we need to do more of because of the physical rifts between us right now.”



The more alternate ways we find to interact during our time hunkered down, the better our state of minds, she added. Whether it’s playing a game with friends over video chat or texting to check in with a grandparent or elderly neighbor, we should keep the lines of communication open.

Here are three tips Sumner has for strengthening our social interactions during the weeks we’re spending physically separated.

Be physically distant, not socially distant. The more we can think of quarantine as a physical separation not a social one, the better off we’ll be. If you work from home, set up times to connect with your coworkers on the phone so we know there’s a real human being on the other side of those emails. If you have a weekly book club or drinking night with friends, keep it going via video chat. Every little bit of interaction helps.

Use human connections to lower stress. There’s plenty to feel anxious about right now, from our health to our finances to our feelings of isolation. Research shows that the more affection and human connection we feel, the more buffered we become from stress. If you’re feeling frazzled, jump on the phone and have a deep and meaningful conversation. You’re not just helping yourself. Chances are the person on the other end also needs to hear your voice.

Focus on technologies that improve social connections. Interactions via video chat and text messaging can improve our interactions, while research shows that some types of social media actually make us feel more cut off from each other. Look for technology-aided interactions that have real meaning and strengthen our bonds rather than dividing us. Also, don’t forget to introduce older friends and relatives to new technologies that help them stay in touch through this difficult time.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 3, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation