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The "shocking" reality

Shock is perceived as negative by our minds. It has a high cost of processing, and reduces the chance of controlling the outcomes.

We end up imagining our future in ways that any kind of sudden shock can be reduced. We watch horror movies. We watch apocalyptic narratives. We keep predicting what could go wrong in the future, and try to adjust our expectations, assumptions, and decisions.

This is a fairly intuitive process. We keep doing this without even being aware of it. Unfortunately, this “shock adjustment” has a cost as well. Not all shocks can be avoided and some shocks have a bigger “perceived” cost than reality. We end up being anxious all the time to avoid shocks in life. Then we start worrying about our anxiety. This is how the vicious loop ensnares us.

In a recent study, it’s been found that people who are fans of apocalyptic movies found it easy to adjust to the pandemic than others. One of the interesting findings in the research was that when people rehearse through difficult situations in advance, they are able to face and respond to “shocking incidents” much better than otherwise.

Our mind is constantly obsessed with two things - past and future. We try to keep making sense of our past. And then we try to keep predicting our future. The context here is our “meaning” and goals. We want to know how our past has helped our meaning. We want to know how the future is going to evolve in a way that affects our meaning.

By putting ourselves in different stories and thinking about the world from the context of that character, we can psychologically prepare ourselves for the future.

PC -


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