University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon
Most of us will have seen the headlines this week about a senior adviser to the Prime Minister and his travelling during the tight lockdown period. The media is emphasising how unfair it is that he appears to be experiencing no repercussions for breaking or stretching the rules. This is in stark contrast to the overwhelming majority of the British people who have abided with the strict limitations.
In line with human psychological understanding, this reaction is to be expected. Coping with perceived unfairness is one of the most difficult things that humans struggle to deal with. It is understood and researched to be the case. Some believe it is harder to cope with than loss and grief. Apparently, we go into a basic reaction called ‘fight or flight mode’ when we find ourselves faced with perceived unjust situations. This reaction is an instinctive survival reaction so our hatred of unfairness can be seen to be that natural and ingrained.
We need to learn to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with unfairness because it is certain that we will face many such circumstances in our lives. It does not inherently help us to depend on our basic, adrenaline-fuelled, survival reaction at such times. It is not ethical or socially acceptable to physically attack the person we believe is doing us down. It is good to learn to rationalise our emotions and our reaction. Getting angry is not healthy for us; filling our body with adrenaline triggers physical reactions like high blood pressure and headaches in the short term and adverse chronic health disorders like gastric, cardiovascular and mental health problems in the longer term.
Below are links to articles and a YouTube video which offer options for addressing and managing the negative emotions triggered by dealing with unfairness in life situations. Have a read through and hopefully you will gain insight which will make life easier going forward.