"Fear is not real. It is the product of thoughts you create. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice."
I remembered this quote from years ago and for some reason trying to find toilet paper yesterday reminded me of it. Think about the toilet paper chaos this virus has created?
There was never a single mention about "Hey- this virus likes to eat all the toilet paper in the world- you better stock up" But somehow this fear about toilet paper spread like wild fire. People fearing being in quarantine and stocking up on toilet paper instead of actual food to eat....it makes zero sense to me. The grocery stores have been fully stocked with food but the paper product aisle looks like a ghost town.
This is because this is a fear that was created through the minds of some people..then other people see those fearful people then they become fearful then they want to stock up on toilet paper too then this becomes a whole crazy toilet paper shortage.
My point in saying this? It felt like a very active example that shows how:
1) Fear is created often from our own interpretation of things instead of facts- a "monkey see, monkey do" approach if you will.
2) Fear is spread person to person so we need to lead with our rational brain. Don't just follow along- stack the facts and draw your own response.
Now, is this virus dangerous...absolutely. We need to respect it, sanitize, wash our hands, protect ourselves and work to protect others. However creating fear within our minds is toxic. It makes a situation worse. Why?
When stress, anxiety, worry, overwhelm and depression are not recognized and steps taken to minimize/prevent them, they actually reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and make you, and those around you much more susceptible to getting sick.
So how do we battle this fear? 1) Breathe deeply because it lets your nervous system know that it can chill out 2) Recognize when you're succumbing to misplaced fear or anxiety and let it go. 3) Call or Face Time a friend- social support reduces fear and anxiety 4) Exercise to protect yourself against the effects of stress, anxiety & fear 5) Re-frame fear as an excitement so you can devote energy and resources to the situation and get the facts 6) Stop yourself when your brain goes down the "negative Nancy" hole and focus on the big picture 7) Embrace the potential advantages of the fear & stress and you'll be more likely to learn from the struggle
We can never fully avoid fear in any situation but learning to address it, process it and finding a way we can benefit from it can make a big difference and you will become skilled at doing this and can be a "rock" to your foamy and friends to help them get through tough times as well.
Remember that fear brews in a lidless pot so we have to keep an eye on it.