You choose fear, it doesn't choose you
Covid 19 is a reality around the Globe. As individuals there is not much we can do about the pandemic, apart from taking personal precautions to not be part of the problem. Despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of control we have as individuals, we are panicking en masse. The psychology behind the panic buying of bales of toilet paper is interesting, we act irrationally when we are perceiving to lose control (click to read more in depth about the psychology behind panic). In times of crisis we see the best and the worst come out in people. The one prevailing energy that differentiates whether a person will reveal their best or their worst is fear and how much of it the person holds. Another aspect that will have a great impact is our individual relationship with fear.
For approximately 98% of us Covid 19 will have no serious health implication. Why is it then that we are looking at a global economic meltdown, small businesses are going out of business faster than you can say “bless you” and we are seeing widespread curfews not seen since World War II? Would it have better to quarantine those in risk zones and let the rest of the population to just ride it out? These are questions governments are grappling with right now. At this point you cannot control what is done or not done, you are just along for the ride, whatever is cast upon you. We will have to debrief once it is all over. Right now you have one ultimate job, apart from help preventing the spread of the virus, which is to remove yourself from fear.
We can easily give in to fear of losing our own lives, losing our income, not having enough food (or toilet paper), etc. However, what will that fear do for you? It will run up your cortisol and adrenaline levels having your sympathetic nervous system firing all the time. This will, in the long run, lead to a vast variety of stress related diseases, far worse and deadly than Covid 19. It isn’t a question whether you are standing to lose your income, your life or ability to feed yourself and your family, it is a question if you can control it and thus is your feeling of fear warranted. You can only control your reaction to the challenges in front of you and if your baseline perspective is fear your actions will derive from fear and the results of your actions will be those of fear. Trust me, nothing good ever comes from fear, it will only compound the negativity and delay the inevitable outcome. When we act out of fear as a collective, it starts to really get ugly.
When I approach fear I first take my awareness out of the feeling to watch the emotion in my body and understand what it is and where it is coming from. I then start asking myself questions relating to this fear, such as:
- Is it doing me any good right now?
- Can I control the thing I am fearful of?
- Will my decision making ability improve in this state of fear?
- Will those in my care benefit from me maintaining a state of fear?
As I answer “no” to all these questions, I argue myself out of the fear rising within my body. When I am calm and centred I will make better decisions with healthier long-term results. Within that process I have to accept that I cannot control the outcome, I can only prepare for the eventualities and accept whatever the outcome is going to be. You can see that just because you don’t act out of fear, you aren’t being complacent, you are merely being more controlled and directing your energy where it is needed the most, i.e. not buying toilet paper.
If the outcome is going to a certain way and you have no control over the external factors driving the experience, would you not rather choose to approach the experience with positive attitudes rather than fear and negativity? You are going to have the same outcome anyway, why not allow yourself to feel good in the process and perhaps you can view the outcome from a different perspective as well. Take the time you will have at home and spend it with your family, educate yourself, do all the projects you never “have time” to do, reach out to people in the community and offer your assistance, etc. Use your time wisely and surround yourself with healthy positive vibes and energy.
At the end of the day, are you going to come out of this a victim or a hero? I choose hero!
Also published on Medium.