The psychology behind why you want to wear a face mask - even though it probably won't help you avoid illness
- With the growing spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for how to stay safe and avoid contracting the disease.
- While they do encourage those diagnosed with or showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus to take appropriate measures, they acknowledge that everyone wearing face masks is unlikely to be very effective.
- So why are so many people rushing to buy face masks?
- Psychotherapist Amy Morin explains that wearing the masks does more for our mental health than our physical well-being, by soothing our anxiety and giving us the illusion of being in control.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning guide to Americans that a coronavirus outbreak is fast approaching. This news has caused face-mask sales to skyrocket, despite the fact that wearing one probably won't protect you from contracting the illness.
Of course, it's considered a social norm in some cultures to wear a face mask somewhat regularly. In China, Japan, and South Korea, face masks may be worn to reduce risks associated with air pollution. They may also be worn as a way to protect others from illness in collectivist cultures.
Yet more and more people are walking around wearing face masks, even as suppliers increase the prices.
So why do so many people want to cover up their faces if it doesn't help? It actually has more to do with their mental health than their physical health.