The Zone - Volume 97
Celebrate … maybe not. Face masks are off … until they are not. Schools are open … until they are not. We can socially gather … until we cannot. We anticipate that the recovery process from Covid should be linear … but it is not.
Chaos theory can be helpful in explaining how we can better understand the chaos of Covid. According to http://www.britannica.com, a possible definition of chaos theory is ”the study of apparently random or unpredictable behavior in systems governed by deterministic laws.” On a practical level, we expect this random evolving process, Covid, to act in an expected, linear way. It plainly does not and will not. So, the question remains, how can we better live while the pandemic continues to evolve and take care of ourselves and our communities?
The unpredictability of weather is the reason why, in the Northeast, at the end of April, although well into the spring season most people have not put away their winter boots or coats. Unknowingly, these Northeasterners have learned the characteristic of chaos theory of the non-linear, unpredictability of the weather system. While April is in the middle of the Spring season and the weather should be warm, there are still many days when snow happens.
A key perspective that can help us to better understand this phenomenon is how we think about Covid and what our expectations are around it. Chaos theory is basically the science of surprises and the unexpected and yet embedded in systems that can offer insights. Much like the metaphor of Edward Norton Lorenz, the “butterfly effect”, that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can influence the formation of a tornado in Texas, weeks later, exemplifies how this seemingly unrelated event impacts the system.
As we continue through this unpredictable, non-linear, system of recovery from the pandemic we may want to try to remain fluid in our thinking and behaviors. Much like how we learn to better cope with our various weather patterns, no matter where we live, we need to soften our stance to intentionally better understand this complex system that is playing out within our time.
The recovery from the pandemic will not go as expected.
Chaos Theory can help us better understand the unpredictability.
Patience and insightful thinking are important.
The unexpected is the expected.
Remain fluid in our thinking.
Prepare for the unexpected.
Don’t put your winter coat away at the end of winter
Things to Limit
Planting your feet too firmly in the ground.
Social media chatter.
Thinking that you can control the recovery process of the pandemic.
Quote of the Week
“Chaos theory simply suggests that what appears to most people as chaos is not really chaotic, but a series of different types of orders with which the human mind has not yet become familiar.”
In summary, each of us only has so much energy to expend to prepare and continue to move ourselves forward as we recover from the pandemic. Accepting and understanding the non-linear unpredictable nature of this process can offer each of us a much-needed reprieve from negative and self-sabotaging behaviors. Now is the time to focus on what is beneficial and productive for our future.
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The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.
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