Fear is hardwired into our systems to keep us safe. If a lion is coming for you, fear tells you to run and the body send blood etc to the hands and feet to help you run. To provide the body with everything it needs to help you escape, it shuts down the immune system to conserve energy etc.
There is the problem. If your immune system is shut down so are other systems – for example, your body may not be able to absorb and use the food you are eating, therby depriving it of the nutrients needed to keep the body healthy. Obviously, long term this will cause lots of health issues
In the situation of the lion – once the lion is gone your body should return to normal. However, if you have to keep on the alert for the lion or other threats long-term, fear becomes your worst enemy and will eventually kill you under the disguise of heart attack, cancer, immune deficiency diseases, addictions, cholesterol and a thousand other medical conditions.
A medical journal on the effects of chronic fear.
If you want to survive, you have to learn
- to recognize when your body has been triggered into fear mode – sounds like you should easily notice this, yes? Well, no, not if you are in the habit of being fearful. You can live in fear and not be actively aware of it.
- learn how to shut of the fear response.
If you think you don’t feel fear very much read my article ” Fear is our worst enemy ” and you will see that, even in a normal day, even without any crisis like COVID-19, fear is triggered in us 24/7 not just by media but by society, friends and family.
Shut off the fear response
I’m talking about fear here in a very simple way. You will find lots of much more indepth, analytical ways of dealing with fear on the internet.
At a basic level, and to help the immune system, I am interested in shutting off the fear response as soon as possible and to practice doing so, because opportunities for fear are all around, We’ve just got used to them and we have grown accustomed to living with at least a degree of fear.
Tools to shut of fear in the moment
- Laughter – you can’t find something funny and at the same time feel fear. Find a funny movie, keep links to your fav comedian handy on your phone – remember the last thing you laughed at. By the way, when was the last time you had a real REAL BELLY LAUGH?
- YouTube saves my sanity! I have a few people I tune into when I need to change my thoughts – it doesn’t really matter what they are talking about as long as it is not fear-based.
- What are you thinking about? Identify it in the moment. You can’t fight the thought, BUT you CAN replace it.
- MOVE – get up, change you position, make a cup of tea, admire something, go for a walk, run, do some housework, turn on some music.
- When you MOVE, look around you – what do you have to feel grateful for? Think about them, verbalise your gratefulness.
- Meditation – I could NEVER meditate until I found Dr Joe Dispenza and I find his meditations so easy and powerful
You can’t fight the thought BUT you CAN replace it. I do this simply by thinking “what a lovely sky! How blue it is – hmm nice flowers, etc. You could pull up a mental of some baby, child or family member you love and think about them. Carry a photo or something that you associate with a happy memory, in your pocket and reach for it when you need to change a thought.
Believe it or not you cannot think two thoughts at the same time. AND thoughts are magnetic which means you have the first thought and then more thoughts similar to the first one rush at you one after the other. This happens so quickly, easily and unconsciously that you can be “thinking” about a subject for several minutes before even becoming conscious of what you are thinking.
There is the key – BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF WHAT YOU ARE THINKING. Or even better maintaining a level of consciousness that will not allow the train of thought to even begin, if it is one that does not serve you.
Thoughts rush through our heads – we are not thinking them, they are invisible and all around us, we are just picking them up like radio receiving sets. A train of thought can be triggered by a smell, an object, touching something, music, a song, and obviously by seeing something
Sometimes when I catch myself having a rush of certain fearsome or fear-triggering thoughts, I stop and hold my hand up, like a traffic cop, (only if I am alone and not in public!) and wave the thoughts off the main highway (so to speak) down a blind alley. It works. Sometimes I imagine them like the ski lifts in Switzerland and as they come over my head I just wave them on saying “not now” and sometimes – sometimes I just look at them and say “fuck off! Just fuck off and get the hell outta my head!” etc.
My weapons against fearful thoughts
These are my personal favourites for thought distraction – might seem silly to you but they get me 🙂 You can make your own list.