Unquestionably, we are living in an increasingly fearful world.
From the minute we wake up each day, we are bombarded with news and fake news about Covid-19, variants, vaccines, government lockdowns and restrictions, negative economic news, fewer job prospects and more. Undoubtedly, we are living in stressful times and increased uncertainty in our world.
Clearly, we have a pandemic of fear sweeping every country. People are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, stress, panic and confusion.
Numerous studies have shown that living in a continual state of fear has a negative impact on our health and well-being. In fact, Harvard Medicine Magazine reported that dread requires only a tenth of a second to take root.
That is, heightened cortisol levels that arise when a “fight-or-flight-or-flee” response kicks in because of some external source actually lowers our immunity. And when this happens, it makes us more susceptible to chronic inflammation, colds, coughs, flus and, of course, Covid-19.
So, what exactly is this dread or FEAR?
And how do we overcome fear each day?
Well, FEAR has two meanings: False Evidence Appearing Real or Face Everything and Rise. Let’s explore them.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real
To begin with, how do we discern what is real vs. what’s fake news?
We are constantly being bombarded through mainstream media and social media channels with all kinds of news 24/7. At the same time, we know that all media sources are ripe with censorship. Have you noticed how censorship has been rising over the last few years?
Regardless of the source, information is being put out to elicit a specific reaction from consumers. So, if you read something and it causes you to panic or feel fearful, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the information factually correct? Try to cross-check it with other sources to see how reputable the information is, including the organization affiliated with it.
- Why would this media source issue information like this? Mainstream and social media outlets always have a paid money trail behind them. See what the motive might be to induce fear in the public, and who stands to gain from it.
- Have other people also heard the same thing? Talk about what you’ve read with your friends and family to see if they can vouch for what you’re reading. Why? Because considering counter arguments ensure we don’t spiral alone into anxiety over something that “might” happen or something that never happened at all.
- Will this news change my life in the present moment? Chances are it won’t. Maybe it has ramifications in the future. And if so, you can reflect on that at a later time. Why stress yourself out in the meantime? Remember to pause and reframe what you’ve just read because you’re likely safe in the present moment.
FEAR: Face Everything and Rise
So, if you go through the above line of questioning and you determine that a particular news story is indeed real news, you have a choice. That is, to let it consume you with worry and perhaps cause extreme anxiety. Or, to face the news head on and deal with it the best way you can.
Let’s expand on this definition of fear with an example.
To start with, suppose you hear on the news that food shortages are coming this winter.
Upon hearing this, you check the news source: it seems credible and you’ve heard it in quite a few places now.
You could check around with friends. And if they tell you they’ve heard the same news, your antennas might go up a little bit.
Maybe one friend says she went to the supermarket yesterday and there was no toilet paper left (again).
In that moment, you might tell yourself: well, I have toilet paper right now, I’m ok.
But, just to be sure, you might make a trip to the supermarket. If, at that point you see first-hand that not only is toilet paper in short supply, but that many store shelves are thinning out. Now, you’ve received confirmation. As you process all of your facts, the news about food shortages would become real news.
So, moving on to our second definition of FEAR: how do you face everything and rise to the occasion?
To begin with, remember to stay focused on the present moment and do the very best you can with the information you have.
In this situation, you would prepare the best you can with the limited availability of food supplies.
For example, you could ask friends, family and neighbors for help if you need it.
You could get resourceful and creative with the food you have remaining at home.
Above all, you take action!
But, you act from place of self-compassion and understanding of what’s important to you and your values.
That’s really the bottom line.
So, here’s the thing: when you act on the information you’ve received with an open heart and mind, you are rising to the occasion and you’re facing everything head-on.
Quite remarkably, taking decisive, heart-guided action is super-empowering.
It builds character and resilience.
That is, when you take decisive action, you’re stepping out of a victim-mindset to take charge of your situation the best way you can.
In summary, in order to face everything and rise into action, having a calm and centred presence of mind is essential especially during these challenging times.
Without a doubt, we just do not know what curve balls are going to be coming our way each day when we rise out of bed.
So, do not let the news of the day send you into a tailspin of worry, confusion, anxiety, stress or fear.
Remember to love yourself enough not to go there.
And grounding can help you overcome fear each day.
All it takes is simple daily breath work and a meditation practice to keep your mind, body and spirit grounded in the present moment and in touch with reality.
And let’s not forget that disconnecting from technology periodically and strengthening human relationships. These things can also help you maintain perspective and keep fear in check.
Need some more help with busting through FEAR? Book a free discovery call or a coaching session with me here. I’d love to help you find your inner anchor in the ocean of chaos around us, so you can overcome fear each day and live your life to the fullest.