“I would like to hear what you think about fear and its effects on health and wellbeing.”
Yes, I believe that fear affects people’s health in a big way.
I’ll admit. During these trying times I’ve become afraid. (Not of the virus mind you, but of the economic impacts and government response. If you want my thoughts on this, signup here to get added to the CV update list.)
Like knots in my stomach afraid.
Grief, depression, fear, anger…I think these are all natural emotions to be felt at this time.
People like to label these as negative or bad. But they’re not. They’re natural and they serve a purpose.
The problem tends to be when you get stuck in them.
Fear, real primal fear, can save your life as it mobilizes adrenaline and more.
Fear that most people feel in our modern age, which might better be termed anxiety, can often achieve the exact opposite response. Paralyzation.
Fear can cause you to go out and hoard toilet paper beyond reason. Fear can also cause you to go get a few weeks supplies. Not panic but preparation.
But fear can also kill you. Case in point, voodoo. Here is an article that describes how the belief in a voodoo death curse has actually killed people.
This takes the placebo effect to the ultimate degree!
One thing I reflected on the other day was how the media hysteria surrounding the coronavirus was going to kill people itself. Imagine someone that watches the news several hours a day, highlighting the impact, the terrible symptoms of the disease.
And this person comes down with a cough. It’s just a normal cold but they don’t know that.
This person could be hospitalized (with all the additional problems that creates) because of the fear.
This person could die from the fear.
Instead of a voodoo hex, it’s a media hex.
So yes, we do need to be careful of fear.
Fear causes hormonal changes in the body. Hormonal changes can then impact every other system in the human body.
Fear absolutely depresses immune function and in that way become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Afraid of getting sick so your immune function suffers and then you get sick.
So what should you do?
Don’t stay in fear!
How do you do this?
Acknowledge the fear. Do not simply dismiss it or try to suppress it. As I said before, fear has a function.
Can you take action on that fear in order to mitigate it? This could mean far-ranging things like going out and getting supplies or doing some meditation to process the fear and find out what is underneath it.
There is time to “escape” but take caution that this doesn’t become your normal. Whether drugs or binging on TV, this is an attempt at side-stepping the root problem.
I really like the “Magic Worry Formula” that I first found in Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
1. Ask myself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can’t solve my problem?”
2. Prepare myself mentally to accept the worst–if necessary.
3. Then calmly try to improve upon the worst–which I have already mentally agreed to accept.
Accepting the worse calms of the fear. Being at peace with what happens does not allow fear to come through. In other words, you can’t be peaceful and fearful at the same time. They’re mutually exclusive.
And there are other emotions or states that help dispel fear too.
Faith is one of them. Whether this is in a higher power or simply in the fact that things always seem to work out in the end, it’s good to have faith that you’ll come out the other side.
Hope is another one that is incompatible with fear. Even in the worst of tragedies there are seeds of opportunity. Every cloud has a silver lining. In this way, you can choose to focus on fearing the bad that will occur, or you can be hopeful of the good that will come from it.
Lastly, there are energy methods that help work with emotions such as fear. In Chinese medicine, fear has to do with the Kidney energy.
Something that I do each morning is drills designed to tune-up the energies in the human body. This includes working both ends of the Kidney meridian. K1, the start of the meridian, is on the bottom of the foot right beneath the fleshy pad.
K27, the end of the meridian, is just under and outside the proximal ends of the collar bones. Tap or rub on these points to work with the Kidney energy and the emotions it corresponds too.
As a culture, we haven’t been taught the tools of properly handling fear (except to medicate it away, another form of escapism). But those tools exist. There are lots of them. Find those that work for you and put them to go use.
We’ll get through this.