Don't Feed the Fear

by Jonathan Lawrence
4 minutes
Don't Feed the Fear

Strategies for coping in these times.

We were out walking the other day in the countryside, paying attention to social (or as I prefer to call it physical) distancing to anyone we encountered. We turned a corner and some twenty feet away or so was a woman with 2 dogs. She was cleaning up the dog poop and obviously hadn't heard our approach until were level with her. She jumped and and said in a high pitched voice "Don't come near me!" She was obviously and unreasonably terrified that she may become contaminated with the coronavirus. I felt so sorry for her being so frightened. She is not the only one!

If you are not anxious or fearful at this time you must be quite exceptional, congratulations!. Our world has been turned upside down. Most of us are naturally worried about catching the coronavirus ourselves or our loved ones. Many of us are worried about our economic situation as well. We may be feeling isolated or lonely. Humans don't like change very much much especially when we can't control it. The media don't help, the newspapers, TV and social media are full of fear-inducing perspectives to the stories they publish.

We experience fear when we recognise a threat and fear is useful to help us evade or escape the threat. But fear can be damaging to our health and well-being when we see no way out.

Many people I talk to, professionally and personally are showing symptoms of fear. Poor sleep, difficulty focusing on tasks, heart palpitations and not being able to engage effectively socially, for example being unable to hold a conversation normally and not being able to listen to what is being said.

Much fear is held at a very deep level of our being, often in parts of the nervous system that we cannot reason with. Deep in the brain are some of the structures that evolved before our human intellect developed. And whilst they may be useful in helping us escape predators in the jungle they can be quite negative in the modern world.

Our reaction to fear can also stem from our family and our experiences especially when we were young. Physical and emotional traumas can leave their mark.

One way of coping is to realise that there are things that we can control. In this case a health threat from an infectious disease can be minimised by making sure that we are as healthy as we can be.

Exercise diet and some supplements can reduce the risks (see previous blogs) and you can seek advice from health professionals.

As to things we can't control? Well there is no point in worrying, just be prepared to adapt. Also try not to be in a position where you can't see the wood from the trees as it were, have a bird's eye view see and understand the big picture. Finally do not be drawn into someone else's fear. Be supportive but avoid taking on their troubles.

When we are in our state of fear our primitive, autonomic nervous system gets out of balance. We are unable to relax. There are a number of simple exercises you can do to help reset the nervous system. This does not eliminate your fearfulness especially if the origin is a long time ago, but may help you manage it.

This exercise was developed by a craniosacral therapist colleague of mine Stanley Rosenberg. It allows the body to access the part of the nervous system that calms and relaxes.

There are some more ideas on the Craniosacral Answers Facebook page;

If you need any further help then feel free to contact the clinic and make an appointment to speak to Jonathan or Rosemary.