How to come out of coronavirus a better person: Arthur Brooks
Social media does not satisfy our cravings for human interaction, according to a Harvard University professor
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Some people may be going a little stir crazy in isolation, but Harvard University professor Arthur Brooks advises we should start using the coronavirus lockdown to our advantage.
In studying social, psychological and behavioral literature, Brooks told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto that he believes we can use these hardships to "grow as people," and doing so includes reducing screen time and embracing human interaction.
"Why are people binging on social media?" he asked. "It's because they're actually lacking a neurotransmitter in the brain called oxytocin that comes from eye contact and from touch. And we actually are craving it in a big way. But social media won't give it to you, at least not very much."
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Brooks said in order to satisfy your brain, physical touch and eye contact with the people you’re quarantined with is necessary, even if it's the family dog.
For people feeling lonely while isolated, Brooks recommends finding ways to fix the lacking neurotransmitter by satisfying the desire for human interaction. One simple fix, he said, is to hug it out.
"With the people you're quarantining with, you should have a twenty-second hug every two hours, which actually will peak that neurotransmitter need," he said. "But it'll also help you understand the blessings that you have to be around these particular people."
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During virus panic, Brooks said one of the things "driving people crazy" is the general uncertainty leaders portray to worried Americans, causing uproar and protest.
"What leaders need to do is to be more certain about what they're doing," he said. "And in so doing, they'll actually make us happier as people... I would advise leaders to actually have crisp decision making where every decision actually makes sense for a particular reason."
Brooks said, in addition to social media, binging on too much information regarding the virus will not "quash your need for certainty," since the experts aren't even certain themselves.
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"Uncertainty is horrible for the human mind," he said. "We can't cope with it. Now, the truth is that it's an illusion that anything about the future is certain… What we should be able to do as people is to say, 'Look, I don't know what's going to happen next week or next month, but I will not waste the gift of this day.'"