"Here, I want to teach you something: fear is here to help you, but it can also hurt you."
FEAR! Many people are feeling it right now and there are many people who feel it often. Some people feel a version of fear everyday, if they are engaged in healing they have learned to understand their fears and engage with tools to manage them when they show up. Right now there are many people who are afraid of the COVID-19 aka Corona virus. If you are not concerned about getting ill, you may be concerned about your income, your travel plans or your loved ones. On the other hand, there are those who are too appalled at fear that they rebuke it. The assumption is that by simply ignoring your fears you can get over them and be “okay.” Here, I want to teach you something: fear is here to help you, but it can also hurt you. Learning how to access the benefits of fear while limiting the challenges that it can cause is the key to shifting what alot of us struggle with daily.
"Fear and Anxiety can impact our ability to trust ourselves, causing us to have challenges making decisions at times when decision making can feel crucial."
Fear is defined as an “unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” Fear is a belief that feels real. When we have fear it typically shows up with its friend anxiety. Anxiety moves with an energy that can involve rapid circular thoughts of impending harm, hypervigilance around ways that we must keep ourselves safe,and some changes in mood (irritability, sadness, etc.). Fear and Anxiety can impact our ability to trust ourselves, causing us to have challenges making decisions at times when decision making can feel crucial. These thoughts and feelings can feel like they are taking up a considerable amount of brain and emotional space, which can lead to physical symptoms like fatigue and general feelings of tiredness. In some cases chest pains, sweating and dry mouth, blurred vision, headaches are also symptoms of fear and anxiety.
"It would seem that we don’t want to feel the feeling so much that we welcome the anxiety to tell us the things that we need to do so that we do not feel the fear."
Most of us despise the impact of fear, so much so that we fear it (ironic huh?). It would seem that we don’t want to feel the feeling so much that we welcome the anxiety to tell us the things that we need to do so that we do not feel the fear. In fact, welcoming (or staying in) periods of anxiety simply perpetuate and fuel the fear, making way for more intense periods with anxiety and the cycle continues.
The truth is that fear and some anxiety help us. Fear signals for us things that we want to pay attention to. If we are afraid of the ending of a relationship, we know that that relationship is important and has value. It would be a clue to look at the situation and pay attention to what you can do to prevent it from ending. When we are afraid to feel the fear, we “stuff” or suppress it and tell ourselves that we are wrong, overlooking clues to address needed situations. Sometimes we walk on the proverbial “egg shell” not paying attention to what matters to us, which can cause us to create the very things that we fear.
"...it is even more crucial that we are intentional about the TYPES of information we are in taking and the FREQUENCY."
For many of us our fear of what will happen with regards to the COVID-19 or the coronavirus has us believing that we need to understand all that we can about it (anxiety). While understanding information and being informed during this time is pertinent it is even more crucial that we are intentional about the TYPES of information we are in taking and the FREQUENCY with which we are gathering the information. If you sit in the anxiety and allow it to dictate your choices too long it can be counterproductive to your wellness and enhance the fear/anxiety cycle.
Here are 4 steps to use your fear to help you instead of allowing it hurt you:
Understand what you are feeling: Do not ignore what you are feeling, label it, see if you can know where it is coming from- is it real or imagined, is it happening now, has it happened in the past or do you fear it happening in the future.
Decide what you can do about it now: what are the steps you can do now to support you in caring for yourself and planning, if needed.
Do what you need to do: Execute your plan of action and allow it to be.
Move away from the feeling of fear: Once you have done all that you can do, engage with joy. Dance, sing, talk to loved one’s, play games, do live virtual activities (host a book club meeting, do a yoga class, netflix party, google hangout of facetime chat with a friend group, prepare meals together, play a game together virtually (i.e. heads up), clean, journal, meditate on gratitude and love, etc. ENGAGE with JOY to move the energy of fear out of you.
These times are new to us all and it is natural for fear and anxiety to show up. But we can use them to help us gather information, we do not need to be stagnant in that energy. We need to be intentional about what we are doing so that we can find moments of peace and joy.