The Fear We Feel And How To Fight It

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    The Fear We Feel And How To Fight It

    The Fear We Feel And How To Fight It

    Without a doubt we are living through a time when all of us face the unprecedented experience of going to bed feeling uncertain and waking up feeling uncertain. There is, almost. a wartime-level of existential threat that is facing us and we have to try and cope with anxieties that involve our loved ones, our selves, our ability to make a living and our very own health. Since the last world war neuroscience has made a lot of progress in understanding how the brain works, how emotions affect us and how we can use the brain/body connection to create a more balanced approach.

    I will gloss over the detailed parts of the science to paint a really broad picture because that's the most important part we need right now. Fear is a natural response to uncertainty. The reason we feel it is because the brain, with all its complexity is only designed to do one thing: help us survive. It does that by trying to predict what happens next. When it has insufficient information for that (which is where the uncertainty kicks in) it begins to feel fear and fear turns into panic. Fear shuts down some of the higher-processing centers of the brain (which is why when we are afraid we don't know what to do) and panic paralyses us (which is why they often say "panic kills").

    There is no magical formula for overcoming fear but there are techniques we can use to control it, no matter what. The first thing is acceptance. We need to acknowledge and accept our worst possible fear. Paradoxically, the moment we do that, part of the mental anxiety we feel goes away. Experts think that this is because acknowledgement dissipates denial and denial is a complex response that mentally and emotionally drains us. The second thing is to focus on the practicalities we can control to take us to the next step. This is about attention and control. None of us, for instance, knows what will happen next globally, how the global economy will cope, what the infection rate from COVID-19 will be in out community and so on. We usually, naturally, try to gain as much information to ascertain this by watching the news, going on social media, scanning Twitter. The thing is that this is truly new territory. Even the experts don't know which means that the information our brain craves to help it take the next step is not there. This creates further anxiety in us and is counterproductive.

    So, the next step for us has to be focused on practicalities that are feasible for us to do. We know, for instance, that we need to be fit, healthy and calm. Our day needs structure. So that should be our focus and we should be looking at that to help us do the next thing. Routine helps give us confidence and build assurance. Talking about how we feel and what we do and why helps share the burden and communicate everything better with those around us. The more we are in sync with everyone around us and those we keep in touch with the better we feel.

    The current isolation is an issue, which is why it is more important than ever to step up, take charge of our daily life and also connect, remotely, with others. Openly share our feelings and not just receive support but also strive to be as supportive of others as we can. Right now we are all going through some challenge of our own. There is a battle being fought by each of us.

    A friend of mine who is a former Navy SEAL commander and has seen his fair share of battles and uncertainty has written a post that, as a personal guide through this crisis, is pure gold. The post is here.

    To give ourselves the best possible chance for survival we need to beat the fear that threatens to overwhelms us. Alone, none of us can beat it for very long. This crisis, like every crisis, is a fast-moving, fluid situation. This means that the moment we succeed in keeping our fear at bay because we've 'got it under control' it changes and the fear begins to assail us again. Evolution made us social for a reason. Fear shared is fear halved. Together we create a support network that acts as a direct bulwark against the mental erosion of the fear we feel.

    If there ever was a time to feel the power of the family called DAREBEE this time is it.

    Finally, one small 'trick' from my own personal arsenal. I grew up reading Frank Herbert's Dune. Whenever I have felt lost, alone, overwhelmed, afraid. Whenever I have felt my own fragility and my own mortality. I take a really deep breath and hold it and in my mind I recite the litany against fear, straight from the book:

    "I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."


    I usually have to say it two-three times. By the end of it I feel ready. Calm. Collected. Ready to assess my situation and take that next step.

    In these trying times everyone of us in the DAREBEE team is thinking of you. Our family. We are here, all of us, for each other. I hope this helps a little. Damer

    #2
    Such nice words, as usual ! Thank you, Damer

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      #3
      Louve rose gratitude. And stay safe.

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        #4
        Stay safe too, Damer .

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          #5
          Not ALL of us are afraid of what is happening.
          There is a significant swath of the US that believes that the "Pandemic" is a political fiction promulgated by Radical Libtards, like Bernie Sanders.
          Yes, they believe that moderate is a member of the Radical Left! (You can get that even from the Democrats, supposedly holding out on the left.)
          These folk have not a care in the word regarding this disaster because "it doesn't exist". So ... why be afraid.
          You can find them on the beach in Florida. (healthy young people don't get this imaginary disease)
          You can find them in the pews of the more radical churches. (our GOD will protect us)
          You can find them in groups at the local pub. (it's all Fake News spouted by lying snakes of "journalists")
          I'm occasionally bucking my morals/ethics with thoughts of how many of these will be dead by my next birthday.

          Now ... *I'm* not afraid. Because 1) we are all going to get it 2) taking care so you get it 'later' will help you survive it 3) being afraid won't help, might hurt.
          What keeps me on solid ground, here, is hearing reports from half of Europe (and more) that things are just like the journalists claim, even where the Democrats have no sway.

          So ... thank you.

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            #6
            I am convinced that an international support network like Darebee is truly invaluable at a time like this

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              #7
              Amen. To all of it. The words in the beginning. The litany against fear (which I use, myself, as well), the fabulous support network that is Darebee. 🙏

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                #8
                Thank you

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                  #9
                  Fwiw, I timed it; the Litany Against Fear takes about twenty seconds to recite, so if you need to time your handwashing, you could do worse.

                  And thank you.

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                    #10
                    Great idea, @Camwynya!!!

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                      #11
                      Thank you!

                      (Also the Star Trek opening monologue takes about twenty seconds, if you use Shatner's pacing.)

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                        #12
                        Yeah, and SPACE is where we need to get to to get away from this virus!! Where is Musk and why isn’t he building us a space ark?!

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                          #13
                          Damer Thank you for this article.

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                            #14
                            PETERMORRIS966 you're most welcome. Stay safe!

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                              #15
                              DaithiMeyer my hope for your country--as it so often has been over the past three and a half years--is that you will survive this time of being warped and crushed by a supposed-leader who so consistently, insidiously, heavy-handedly wages war against the truth. The politicization of belief in objective reality is a very dangerous thing. I hope--for all our sakes--that the people of your country will find the wisdom to overcome it. I hope too that this current crisis will help all of us to find a renewed spirit of international cooperation, and respect for all humans and other species with which we share this planet. We're all of us in this together.

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