Welcome back. We're on to Week 3, Chapter 3. However, we want to think about it. These next set of videos will really focus on the isolation that many of us are living with and under and within during this time. It's a different kind of isolation as I'll explain to you. But I want to highlight a few characteristics and a few psychological concepts that I think are relevant to this isolation situation. Ultimately, we'll get to a point where I give you a set of recommendations, I guess, about how to structure your isolation. Some things you could think about, it'll be bringing together a lot of the things we've talked about already, and imagining how you might configure a day. Now this isolation section is a little tricky to cover because all of our situations are a little different. There are some people alone in their isolation. There are some people like my wife and I and my dog, that's a very different situation than someone that's alone. Of course, there are people with young children in their household, children of all ages, I should say, in their household, and they provide challenges and just differences in the whole situation that make the psychology a little different. So we'll try to hit some of those, and I'll weave back and forth through some of these little contexts as we go through, hopefully giving you something useful or whatever your context is, and just try my best to leave you with some things to think about to help you just deal with this very odd situation that we're all in. So this first video, we're really going to focus on control and the importance of control. So let me talk about this distinction, first of all, from psychology. It's often applied to people in general, that some people have more of what we call an internal locus of control, some more of an external. The truth is that everybody has some combination of these in reality, but let's just define them first. So somebody with an internal locus of control. The idea behind that is that, that is somebody who believes that their actions shape the consequences of events, that they personally have control over how things come to be. So for example, in this example, they talk about what if a student got a bad grade? Well, someone with an internal locus of control says, "Well, that's my fault. I didn't do what I needed to do to prepare to do well." So that person may change how they prepare for the next tests, etc, because they believe that they do have the ability to change outcomes. So for example, when they get a good grade, they once again attribute it to themselves, "Excellent, I did some good stuff, I earned that good grade." An internal locus of control is considered to be very empowering. It makes a person feel like they have some control, they are in control, and it's very important. As I'll highlight, it's very important as we all deal with isolation as well. Just to contrast this, the external locus of control, the notion there is that when you have an external locus of control, you're blaming outside influences. You have this feeling like it wasn't you. In fact, some people with a very strong external locus of control believe that the events will unfold no matter what they do. So it's always an external cause for things. So if they get a bad grade, they say, "No, that was a bad test. Nobody could have done well, or for whatever reasons, this disadvantaged me, and the professor wrote a bad test, that's why I did bad." Not me, them. Even if they get a good grade, they might not take credit for that good grade. They might say, "Oh, wow, something must have gone wrong. I don't usually do this good. They must have marked my test wrong, or wrong in a way that advantaged me or something like that, or they just wrote an easy test." So you really have this distinction. How much is this person feel like they have some control over what happens in the future? Now this is really important because it's connected to feelings of empowerment, which is very important for mental health. Empowered people tend to feel mentally healthier. So let's get there a little bit, and let me tell you about one of the experiments from psychology that I dislike the most. I am a strong animal rights advocate and there's a lot of animal research that I find bothersome, but here's one that I definitely find bothersome, but it was done and there's something to learn from it. So let me describe the situation to you. What we have is a chamber here with two sides, and you see a barrier in the middle, and you also see a speaker on each side. So what would happen is the dog would be put on one side, and it was done with dogs, this research. Typically, a light would come on and just after the light comes on, the floor under where the dog is becomes electrified, has electrical current, and all animals hate the feeling of an electrical current. It doesn't actually harm them physically, but they hate it. So what the dog does early on is, the light comes on and then the floor gets electrified and it jumps over to the safe side. So this side is safe. It doesn't take them long to learn, by the way. If the light signals this is about to happen, then as soon as the light comes on, he gets over there before the shock even happens. So that's cool. That's learning to avoid a negative stimulus. Now here's where things get tricky. We raise this barrier. We raise it right to the top and the dog cannot escape any longer. So what happens now? This dog has learned what's going to happen. So he sees the light come on, early on he tries to escape. He tries to get over that barrier, but he can't get over that barrier. Electrical shock comes, the dog gets shocked. A few trials proceed like this, but then something strange happens. Eventually, the dog stops trying. It does not try to jump over the barrier. It just curls up in the corner, and the light comes on, it might see it. The shock comes on, it takes it, but it doesn't try to do anything. Most startlingly, if it's been in that state for a while, we call that learned helplessness. If you lower the barrier again back to here, and so technically the animal now could escape, the animal doesn't try. Once it's reached a state of learned helplessness, it just curls up in the ball and takes the negative and doesn't even try to escape, hence the helplessness. It believes it's helpless. So the notion here is that, we've really messed with this dog's locus of control. It now believes that it has no power to avoid the negative consequences of life, and so even when it does, it doesn't try. So this is a very bad state to be in, learned helplessness. We get there when we feel like we have no control over the events. It's been linked, originally when people did this experiment, they did it to create an animal model of depression. They were trying to capture depression because that is an aspect of depression. So let's talk about this for a while because this is something that's on my mind and I think I want it to be on everybody's mind. I've been talking a lot about anxiety, because mostly we're all anxious right now. Again, anxiety is that fight or flee system, and it basically comes with this imperative that says, "Do something, take control." Think of it that way. Take control. That's what our anxiety system is telling us to do. Find some ways to control the situation. If we do and if we feel like we're getting some control, then that's good. That's what our anxiety system is pushing us to do. If we actually succeed, we will start to feel mentally more strong. But if we ever try and reach this opinion that nothing we do is making any difference anyway, we can fall into that learn helplessness. That's really associated with depression. So if you had to capture depression in a word, it would be don't bother doing anything. It won't make a difference. We do not, this is my greatest fear is that I'll be doing another course like this in a few months about managing depression. Depression is a scarier thing. Anxiety makes us all feel, but it's sort of an invigorating empowering mental issue, if you will. Depression is not and depression is when people give up and depression is when a lot of bad things happen. So we really need to not go here. The most important way to not go here is to feel like we are doing something. It's almost like I'm saying we want to keep our anxiety system engaged. I'm not. But I'm saying on the two sides of that issue, feeling anxious or feeling depressed, it's better to feel anxious. If we can combine, this control of our anxiety, the management of our anxiety as we've been talking about with this feeling that we're accomplishing something, then that's the most mentally healthy way forward from where we are. So all of this really highlighted control. I want to say a few things here about control. So one is, I've got Cesar Millan up here, the Dog Whisperer. If those of you who don't watch the show, I'll capture the critical characteristic that you want. But he talks about this a lot. So he says, "If you want dogs to respect you and not just respect you, but really to feel comfortable in your pack," just say it that way, "then they need to see you as a leader" and he says, "A leader, at least in the dog world, is somebody who's calmly assertive." So what does he mean by that? Let me break that down a little bit. He says the leader should seem decisive. Like if there's a decision to be made, the leader makes the decision and makes it with a certain amount of confidence and calmness, and just expects the followers to fall in line and they will. Now humans are different than dogs, but they will if they feel the leader is in control. So I'm mentioning this to those of you with kids in the household. I'm going to mention a couple of things with relation to having children in the household with you. One of them is just that you are the leader of your pack if you're one of the parents, and one of the things that Cesar highlights a lot is a problem, is when somebody acts a little neurotic, when they act like they're scared. If the leader is scared, then the whole pack is scared. So it's really important if you are playing a leadership role in your family, that you do not give any impression of being fearful. You can certainly be concerned. You can be attentive. You can show your children you're paying attention to events and your concerned, but you know the right things to do and you're doing them and you think they should do them as well. So that calmness, that lack of being neurotic is very important for it spreads to the others in your pack, in your family. So it's very important for the leaders to remember this. If you're really worried and concerned, cool, talk to somebody about that over the phone. Use those social connections, but don't do it right in front of your children if possible. Let your real worries not be as on your site. You can talk to them in a calm way about them. Just don't talk to them like you're out of emotional control. So I just want to mention that. Have your emotions under control when you do that. So the next issue related to that. I think it's really important with this control framework to think about how we talk to our children, about why we're isolating. In fact, we are all big children. So it's how we talk to ourselves about isolating. The way we frame and think about issues in our mind has a large effect on how we're able to cope with it. So one of the things I would suggest is certainly do not. We know children are at the lowest risk of this. If you are a relatively young family, especially then, then the parents are probably at relatively low risk of the severe physical issue here. So very important to tell your children and yourself. First of all, the danger to us is very low. We are not isolating because we're hiding or because we're scared. Those are neurotic reactions. You don't want to transmit that to your kids. What you want to say and I believe this is absolutely accurate. So tell it to yourself as well as telling it to your kids because it's the right way to think I think. There are other people in our community who are at risk. They are, of course, the older people in our community. There are people with preexisting health conditions of some sort and in addition to these, there are the health care workers who are on the front lines exposing themselves to the virus and doing all they can to help us, help anybody who needs the help, and you see this one guy you know. I stayed at work for you, you stay at home for us. I think the message you have to tell your children is that there are others in our community that are at risk and we're doing what we're doing to help them. So this is an active thing. Remember control. This is fighting the virus, fight or flee. Your system wants to fight and so you have to tell you kids, we are fighting. That's what we are doing by staying home. We are slowing the growth of this virus, which is helping all of these other people either survive or do their thing to help other people survive. So it's a very active strategy we're doing to make a difference in our community. That way of framing it, makes it sound like you're less of a victim and more of a warrior. I think that's the line you want to walk with your kids. I would actually get them to really think about these individuals quite a bit and think about, well, I guess I move it this way. It's a good chance to talk to your children about citizenship and responsibility. It's a good, again, opportunity to think ourselves about citizenship and responsibility. Often as horrible as this situation is, it is an example to children that there are times when some people are more vulnerable than others and as being part of a community, there's a certain responsibility involved in that. Sometimes we will be the vulnerable ones that need help from others. Sometimes others will need help from us. Whichever situation, if we need the help, we should appreciate it and really be thankful and appreciative of others helping us. But when others need our help, well then it's our turn to step up. So teaching them this skill in this context can be very powerful. One of the recommendations I would make to top up that is I would love to see families adopt older or socially disconnected people that are also isolating. I would like to see those bonds form. You could really use this. It serves two purposes. If your family, let's say, finds an older person or two and calls them every day and just pass the phone around your family, let each person chat with them a little bit, see how they're doing, talk to them a bit. What you can tell your children is, this is very important for that person we're calling. It's making them feel less lonely and less alone and making them feel like somebody cares. So you're doing a great thing for them, which you are, but you're also giving your kids a sense of control. They are doing something, their anxiety is telling them to do something and they are staying home with you and trying to tolerate that, and maybe even reaching out to others and trying to proactively play a positive role and that is a great thing for all of us. By the way, if we can find a way to have a positive role, if we can find a way to actually contribute, then that will help our sense of control, that will make it feel like we're doing something too. So I really want to stress that, do something, find a way of feeling like you are doing something and that your children, if you can directly find a way where they are doing something and that will make them feel much better about the whole situation because they'll feel like they have some control over it. I will leave this one there. Thanks. Bye bye.