How are different personality types coping with social distancing?

We are all different people and react and deal with situations accordingly. Can we change?

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We’re getting used to being physically and socially distanced from people.  While we all know and understand the reasoning and value behind it – it doesn’t mean that we are finding it easy.  But there are definitely some personality types that are finding it easier than others!

Some people feel like they are literally in solitary confinement whereas others are actually relishing the time alone.  Is this because some people are naturally introverts who thrive in quieter more 1-1 situations?  Or is it something more?

On the basis of nature and biology, humans are social creatures who are designed to thrive in groups and rely on each other for survival. This is where the phrase ‘strength in numbers’ evolved from as well as the laws of natural selection.  Although the world is vastly different from these primitive survival days, we still have an instinct to remain close to other people.  It is one of our basic human needs for connection.

When we are in a situation where proximity to others is removed, our bodies will naturally respond with a level of stress.  As with all stress, we experience the adrenaline that fuels the flight or fight response. However, being in isolation adds another risk - loneliness. Loneliness is one of the most powerful mental and emotional stressors often manifesting in increased anxiety and depression. With no sign of social distancing ending, this stress is likely to increase, so if you know of someone who is experiencing added loneliness at this time - please be extra mindful and vigilant of their mental health.

But then there are those who seem to be thoroughly happy with the social isolation situation. It’s often found that someone who enjoyed playing alone as a child – will continue to thrive when they are isolated from others as an adult. They often present with better mental health and don’t experience ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) as intensely as others do and they may also seem to be more grounded.  The upside of this behaviour is often more focus and creativity and self-discipline.

So, even if you’re a person who just loves being with others, take this time to tap into your other side.  Allow yourself the time to really hone your focus and self-awareness skills.  Use the time for reflection and learning and get in touch with your thoughts, feelings and what really makes you happy.  Do you enjoy time with yourself?  If not – why not?   How is your relationship with yourself?  What is your sense-of-self and are you happy with all aspects of yourself?  Do you value yourself?

Important questions – hope you’ll take time to answer them.

Remember – you are the one person you can be sure you will always have in your life!

Ase Greenacre

Founder & facilitator , MRT Consultants

We help people in the workplace to become aware of their own impact and choices in their lives. What do we need to do to help ourselves and others to be in better place emotionally? How do we look after our mental health? Mental health and emotional wellbeing is top of the agenda and this is what we work with. The effect in our personal and professional lives is immense.

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