There are currently two viruses sweeping throughout the world. One has infected a massive chunk of the global population and the other is the Coronavirus known as COVID-19. I’m no virologist so it is not my place to comment on COVID-19. The other virus, however, is FEAR!
Over the last month as the spread of COVID-19 has increased I have had several conversations with people that have resulted in them asking if I was worried or afraid of catching it. The answer is always a simple “no.”
This response has been met with confusion and even anger. Yes, there have been people who are actually angry at me for not being afraid. One person who got quite upset at my lack of fear and bombarded me with links to web pages filled with information about how bad the COVID virus was in an attempt to get me to join her in fear...
It didn’t work.
Although fear is a genuine and valid response when potentially threatened, it actually doesn’t do anything to help in this situation. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect.
You see, fear is designed for our primal ancestors as a way of keeping us safe and away from danger. If one day you stumbled into a lion’s den and managed to escape intact (or not intact), fear of returning to that same place would actually keep you very safe.
One could argue that fear in this current situation is also keeping us safe by making us wash our hands, stay away from large gatherings and all the other precautions that are recommended. However, is it not possible to take those precautions without holding on to the fear?
What most people possibly aren’t realising is that being fearful of this COVID-19 virus could actually make you more susceptible.
Fear is part of the fight or flight response or the stress response. By holding on to fear, we are holding on to stress. Stress in small doses, such as a few minutes at a time, isn’t particularly damaging, but over time it can have tremendously negative effects on the body. One of which is a lowered immune system making us much more susceptible to any bugs, viruses and diseases.
By being in a state of fear about catching the COVID-19 virus, you are actually making yourself more likely to catch it.
Not only that, when in a heightened state of fear, we are more likely to be irrational and make irrational decisions that could have damaging effects beyond the spread of the virus.
So how do we stop the fear?
First of all, stop feeding it. The entire world right now seems to be flooded with news, nonsense, jokes, memes, stories, etc, all about the virus. Stop reading them, listening to them, watching them, liking them and sharing them. Simply refuse to give them your energy.
Follow the guidelines. It is possible to be prepared for the worst and still refuse to feed into the fear.
Keep yourself in check. Question your thoughts. Don’t just believe them because they are your thoughts. Believe me, my thoughts lie to me all the time and I’m sure yours do too.
Practice mental and emotional disciplines that will help you to release stress. Meditation, yoga, exercise, mindfulness, grounding, etc.
Most importantly, simply refuse to allow fear anywhere near you by setting strong boundaries for yourself and those you interact with. If I’m around people who insist on talking about it and spreading fear, I’ll simply excuse myself from their presence. Likewise, if I catch myself reading Facebook posts, even the funny ones, I’ll force myself to move on or put it away.
Believe it or not, it is okay to turn the news off, it is okay to disembark from social media, it is okay to walk away from that which is not in your best interest.
In all of this chaos, there is still so much beauty in the world. Focus on that and smile from your soul.
Wishing you a beautiful day!