MiNDFOOD

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THE PANDEMIC

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The financial, emotional and physical stresses we are facing due to COVID-19 means divorce rates and relationsh­ip breakdowns are soaring. Divorce world increased stress divorce contributi­ng thanks applicatio­ns. rates emotional are to the increasing to pandemic, and Psychother­apist the financial spike around with in the and for Psychother­apy spokespers­on for Ronen the UK Stilman Council also explains that the pandemic has taken away “well-establishe­d routines that offered comfort, stability and rhythm”. Stilman adds, “More people are finding themselves trapped in a situation where they are struggling to cope with what is going on for them as well as what is going on between them.”

Additional­ly, relationsh­ip experts say the financial effect of COVID-19 is also likely to be playing a major role in break-ups, as people find themselves unemployed, furloughed or taking home lower pay cheques. “Decreased income increases the potential for strain on the relationsh­ip due to conflicts on how to prioritise different types of consumptio­n, and psychologi­cal strain increases that in turn, resulting in reduced relationsh­ip quality due to worries of how to make ends meet,” says Glenn Sandström from Umeå University in northern Sweden. For couples under strain, new research from the University of Texas has found that use of pronouns may show signs of an impending breakup. “It seems that even before people are aware that a breakup is going to happen, it starts to affect their lives,” says lead author Sarah Seraj, a doctoral candidate in psychology at UT Austin. “We don’t really notice how many times we are using prepositio­ns, articles or pronouns, but these function words get altered in a way when you’re going through a personal upheaval that can tell us a lot about our emotional and psychologi­cal state.” The researcher­s found that language markers of the imminent breakup were notable up to three months before the event, with language becoming more personal and informal, indicating a drop in analytic thinking. They used the words ‘I’ and ‘we’ more and showed signs of increased cognitive processing. “These are signs that someone is carrying a heavy cognitive load. They’re thinking or working through something and are becoming more self-focused,” says Seraj.

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