Our mental “surge capacity” is maxed out
Aug 17, 2021
Episode 498

Our mental “surge capacity” is maxed out

If you're feeling stressed, you're not alone.

For some, life is starting to resemble something like normal. Kids are going back to school, some offices are welcoming back workers … so why are we still feeling stressed?

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says there are a couple reasons. For one, the pandemic has gone on for so long, our coping system known as “surge capacity” is depleted.

“We then move into this regression phase where we withdraw, we get sad, agitated, we don’t want to hang out with people, we’re done with Zoom meetings. So it’s not surprising that we don’t have the capacity to feel intense positive emotions right now when we go out to that live concert,” Cuddy said.

And when you throw the coronavirus delta variant into the mix, things get even harder. Cuddy says right now it’s common for people to experience spikes in anxiety, depression and have a desire to escape. She refers to this as “pandemic flux syndrome.” That’s not actually a clinical term. But it is real.

On today’s show, Cuddy explains the role employers can play to help workers through this chapter of the pandemic.

Later in the show, we’ll discuss how Facebook is dealing with the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and MacKenzie Scott reshaping the nonprofit world. Plus, a longtime listener calls in with an update on paying for his twin sons’ college education.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer