How to deal with fear and anxiety in a Freaky PandemicApr 11, 2020
"FEAR, STEP ASIDE PLEASE!"
Fear is a function of the brain and nervous system to keep you safe when there is an immediate threat. But what if the threat is ongoing? Like right now? It causes many to live in a constant state of emergency.
When people are living in survival mode, stress hormones chronically flood the body causing anxiety, overwhelm, but also fatigue and a compromised immune system. Chronic stress negatively affects your immune-system and your genes. It can erode your physical and your mental health.
In other words: Fear itself is worse than that what you fear.
Unless you do something about the source of your fear: INFORMATION
1. Mindset and Bias
We live in a time with an abundance of information available.
Your brain's job is to filter information. You won't ever know about most of what is happening in your environment, you only become aware of a fraction of it. Only information that your brain deems relevant to you in any moment will make it through to your awareness. How and what it filters depends on your filter: your mindset. When the whole world lives in a state of emergency, your bias will strongly tune this filter to a fear mindset. A state of survival. A primal state. Guess what your brain will be paying attention to most? That's right, more threats. This is how fear accelerates and spreads.
Your brain makes representations of the reality based on your mindset, previous information, experiences, and outcomes. No person ever gets to 'see' naked, objective reality. You only see one subjective version of it.
INFORMATION does NOT equal reality or truth
Let that sink in and may you never forget this important piece of Truth, ever. Because it will help you be more open to the perspective of the other humans, who also hold their subjective version of reality. True for them maybe not for you.
By default, the brain detects dangers and threats for our protection. It's most important goal is your SURVIVAL. A very primal function. It is good and necessary that your brain has your back. But we are capable of far more than just surviving.
The biggest block to move beyond survival is FEAR. Because fear is the brain's way to keep you safe! But SAFE keeps you stuck in survival.
Biology of FEAR: Stimulus--->Response
The stimulus for fear is information.
The way to start telling fear to step aside is to monitor and manage the information you are letting in.
- Pay careful attention to how information affects your emotions and your behaviour. If your response is fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, or despair, then be more picky about the information you are taking in.
- Expose yourself gently to things that upset you, and work with it until it no longer upsets you. This may mean not watching the news for a while and intentionally looking for good news, uplifting Facebook posts, and other positive reinforcement.
Now more than ever is it important to support your immune system! Stress, fear, and anxiety do the opposite!
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