Wednesday, July 8, 2020
July 8, 2020

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Oregon psychology professor weighs in on panic buying


COOS COUNTY — The uncertainty everyone is facing from COVID-19 is causing some to change how they think about things psychologically.

Some have responded to the outbreak by stock piling and panic buying, while others are in denial about the whole thing.

According to Southwestern Oregon Community College psychology professor Cheryl Davies, many are acting out of what’s known as Fear Motivated Behavior.

“Fear Motivated Behavior is what has kept us alive evolutionarily for eons,” Davies said.

Davies said that while not everyone has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, everyone has OCD tendencies.

“People who have OCD are usually anxious about death, and disease … We all have the tendencies for OCD, but normally when things are running smoothly we have no need for that anxious behavior. Things right now aren’t running smoothly, and our fear of death and disease is motivating us to do all we can to make ourselves feel safe,” Davies said.

According to Davies, since many have never had to deal with these tendencies before, many are panic buying as attempt to feel safe. While food storage is suggested through these times, many are overstocking out of fear.

Davies said that the best way to calm one’s self is to actively seek out valid information, and to practice mindfulness.

“People need to take precautions, and they need to be educated. It’s important to make sure you’re getting your information from valid sources, that would likely help folks feel better,” Davies said. “A lot counselors will tell their clients to practice mindfulness. For example asking what are you doing every day to practice kindness and behaviors that are less anxiety producing. You have to try and be mindful that we’re all in this together, and we need to find ways to be more community oriented and not just out for ourselves.”

Fear motivated behavior, like Davies said, has kept humans alive for thousands of years. So it is important not to dismiss fear entirely.

“In part, that fear has kept us alive, so give it some room so that you’re prepared, but you don’t need to cram your garage with months and months of food,” Davies said.