Overcoming fears in time of the coronavirus

Sibylle Chaudhuri

29th March 2020

 

Image by rottonara from Pixabay
Image by rottonara from Pixabay

The coronavirus is all over the news, in interviews and documentations; on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Social media is full of real and, let’s face it, fake coronavirus facts and news – and who might to differ?

 

Additionally, it seems that for weeks the coronavirus has been the topic of each and every conversation, with everyone and everywhere. And when our brain expects certain news, we are constantly on high alert which unfortunately causes anxiety and stress.

 

 

Some general facts about fear?

Fear is our very own alarm system. Whenever we perceive a potential physical and/or life-threatening danger, fear sets in releasing chemicals into our body systems to prepare us for fight, flight or freeze. This fantastic chain reaction in our brain has kept our human race alive and kicking since we have walked this beautiful planet. And it still works this way. Unfortunately, our brain cannot differentiate between a real and an imagined threat, like worrying and negative thinking, and it always reacts in the same way: fear and the fight-or-flight response. This can be as irritating and disturbing as an alarm system going off constantly for no reason.

 

Fear is one of the seven universal emotions, experienced by literally everyone around the globe. Fear is not a sign of weakness and is more or less normal. However, being fearful all the time can harm our physical and mental health. Having no fear at all on the other hand could be a sign for serious brain damage.

 

We are born with only two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. 

 

Fear can also be learned or trained. Threatening, horrifying, or even traumatic events and experiences can cause lifelong fears.

 

Some fear is instinctive like pain which potentially threatens our survival.

 

 

What causes fear in times of the coronavirus and what can help to tackle them?

 

Image by Viktor Ivanchenko from Pixabay
Image by Viktor Ivanchenko from Pixabay

     1.    The virus per se 

The coronavirus is a fast spreading virus and therewith per se a potential threat to our health or maybe even our life. This alone is already more than enough for our alarm bells to ring.

 

In addition, we quarrel with the unknown. We do not know much about COVID-19. Every day, the minute we leave our bed, we all are confronted and live with countless physical and/or life-threatening dangers. Also, when we stay in bed e.g. heart attack, stroke. However, we somehow don’t think much about it, it just has always been like that. The coronavirus is new and unknown to us, we receive a lot of contradictory information, we do not know how to handle it.

 

Many of us have the feeling of not being in control. We think there is nothing we can do pro-actively do to handle the situation and solve our problems. But we do like to be in control. We do want to know what we can do to stay safe and sound. When we have the feeling of losing control, we are helpless, we are victims. Of course, this is frightening,

 

Proposal for solution:

Facts from trustworthy sources

Get the necessary information from reliable sources and follow it.

 

A healthy balance, or the golden middle is the best way to go about in the current situation. Get the facts around the coronavirus from reliable sources such as

https://www.cdc.gov

or the website of your government.

  • What is the coronavirus?
  • What are preventive measures you can undertake?
  • What are the rules of conduct and what is the law in our current situation?
  • What can I do if I think I myself or someone I know has been infected?

Make sure you and your loved ones follow the suggested precautions given on the websites. Stay at home if possible. When you go out, keep your distance - circa 1.5 meters – from all the others.

 

Following those suggestions will give you back control over your life. There will still be some parts left where you have no control in your life, but this is just life and it will always be like this, whether there is a health-crisis or not. We will never ever be able to control everything. Decide to be okay with this fact. Accept it – accepting is letting go.

 

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

     2.    Information overload

Modern technology with its ability to bombard us with messages 24/7 has left many of us literally unable to switch of, causing stress and anxiety.

 

Proposal for solution:

Monitor your outside influences

Do you follow every possible news channel – television, radio, online, etc. – always looking for the latest COVID-19 updates? Are you looking for encouragement with social media? Are you listening to your gloomy friends how to stay positive in the face of a health-crisis? Do you talk to a negative family member about how to be happy in challenging times?

 

Sounds crazy, right? 

 

I think it sounds human.

 

But, unfortunately, it’s not really helping.

 

The first step is to become aware of your habits and behaviour regarding the current situation. And then, be careful who you listen to, who you ask for advice and who you allow to influence you. From now on no checking the news all day long anymore, alright !? Sometimes less is more.

 

Make space for the positive things in life. Talk to positive and optimistic people; I am sure you know one or two. Do some light reading. Watch a funny movie or a cartoon . Use your time during the crisis, to be ready to start through after the crisis, which might come earlier than you think.

 

Switch off every day

Every day for at least 30 minutes switch of all your gadgets and take some time away from them. Switch off from the outside world and turn inside. Go for a walk alone – best in nature – meditate, do some journaling, just sit and breath, do some tapping, etc. It’s only for 30 minutes and you will feel so much more energetic afterwards.

 

 

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

     3.    Change

Our brain generally does not like change at all. It wants us to stay in our apparent state of safety however miserable we might feel, e.g. staying in a miserable relationship – the devil you know …

 

The coronavirus forces us to undergo massive changes, e.g. working home office and kids not going to school, no playground, we are all more or less grounded. Gyms, public swimming pools, our yoga class, dance lessons, painting classes, choir practise, meeting friends, going out, etc., everything cancelled. All this causes massive stress and fear – and eventually cabin-fever which again can cause more stress and fear.

 

Proposal for solution:

Put the current situation in relation to your whole life.

Yes, it might not be the nicest and most comfortable situation in our life – at the moment. 

 

Exactly, at the moment!

 

This is the beauty about change, it is the only constant in our life. Nothing is chiselled in stone; everything can be different tomorrow. And no, my friend, this does not mean it will be worse, it can always be better. 

 

How bad is the situation in relation to your whole life? How will you see the current situation when you will look back in two years from now?

 

Try to make the best of it today. Watch out for my blogs in the next few days, I will give you some inspiration. You are allowed to be well – even in the worst of times – you are allowed to enjoy life, always. You will be so proud of yourself once everything is back to “normal”.

 

Just remember: This too will pass. The coronavirus is only a matter of time. And, we will come out stronger.

 

 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

     4.    Insecurity, worrying and negative thinking

Many of us feel insecure about what is going to happen to us and our loved ones in the future, concerning our health, jobs, financial situation, etc. 

 

The current situation leads us to the inevitable worrying and negative thinking around this topic and what could happen. Does anything of the following sound familiar to you?

 

What is going to happen to me and my family and friends? We will be all infected with the virus. And then what? How severe will the symptoms be? Will we have to go to hospital? What is happening with my job? I will lose my job, and then what? I will never find a new one. What happens with me if my business will not survive this crisis? I am responsible for my employees; they have families as well. What if I can’t pay my rent anymore? The whole economy will go down. What if I have no money left on my account to survive? I cannot stock up with convenient food, because all the shelfs are empty in the supermarket. It’s only getting worse. I just know my luck, I will have to stay at home and can’t go out anymore? Who is behind the corona virus? I am sure it is man-made? Why would someone want to do something like this? Humankind is just evil. Will the world ever be the same? Will my family and I survive COVID-19? Will I ever have toilet paper again ?

 

Focusing our thoughts into the past or into the future can cause fear. Negative thinking and worrying causes emotions like fear, frustration, anger, sadness and even depression.

 

 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

 

Proposal for solution:

Ask for help and accept it

Research where you can get help, what you can do and start doing what you can. It’s okay to ask for help and get it. So, go looking for it. Sometimes, it is already enough to talk to someone.

 

Question your thoughts

Start becoming aware of your negative thoughts and write them down.

 

Ask yourself:

  •  Is this true?
  • Am I sure this is 100% true?
  •  Do I know it’s the truth and nothing but the truth?

When you have come to your senses write underneath or next to your negative thought what could be a positive opposite – one that you can actually believe.

 

Then cross out the negative thought.

 

Breathing

Take three deep breaths in through your nose into your belly and out through your mouth, making a noise (sighing) if possible. Deep breathing is our build in stress-reliever and brings you from your head back into your body, and therefore back into the present moment. Here and now you are capable to think straight.

 

Mindfulness

The present moment is the only moment every one of us actually has. The past is gone, we can only learn from it – and we should, that’s what it is for. The future is not here, yet. We do not know what is to come, no one has a crystal ball. 

 

However, we can shape our future in the presence with positive thoughts. What do you want your future to be like? Make a vision board and hang it where you can see it. Imagine the perfect day with everything on your vision board in it. Make it big, bright and colourful; make it real. Imagine it again and again.

 

Okay, back to mindfulness: Focus your attention on every present moment. Do whatever you do very consciously e.g. 

  • Eating: Smell your food. What is the texture of the food in your mouth like? Chew carefully and try to taste every single flavour.
  • Taking a shower: Feel the water on your skin. What does your shower gel smell of? What does it feel like on your skin? Alternating between hot and cold water, how do you feel?
  • Slow down everything you do for 2 minutes, e.g. every movement, talking, breathing, etc.

The focus on the moment gives you power and strength for change. Focusing on the here and now allows you to be guided by your intuition. Mindfulness is the key to a clear mind. Where the mind goes the energy flows.

 

 

What else can we undertake to tackle our corona-fears?

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Gratitude

Concentrate on everything you are grateful for and write it down. Best is to take a few minutes every day to write a gratitude journal. Gratitude is a very powerful tool to be and stay positive.

 

Here are some things I wrote in my journal this morning:

  • My family and friends.
  • The luxury of living in peace and being safe.
  • Being healthy.
  • Most of my loved ones being healthy. One friend actually was infected, and for her I am grateful that she is in good hands.
  • Having enough to eat and to drink.
  • Having clean water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing.
  • Spring is coming and nature is waking up.
  • Having a roof over my head.
  • Being able to go for a walk.
  • Having so many possibilities to stay in contact with family and friends.
  • Our beautiful planet.
  • etc.

 

Hang the list where you can see it or put it in your wallet; and read and add to it again and again.

 

 

What do you love doing?

Thank you my beautiful cousi <3
© www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com

Make a list of everything you love doing, e.g. being in nature, going for a walk, dancing, painting, writing, cooking, baking, singing, sitting in the sun, having a cup of coffee/tea, having a gorgeous dinner, watching a good movie, chatting with friends, etc. Write everything down and add to your list every day. Circle everything you are still able to do, and you will wonder how much it is. Hang it where you can see it. Do at least one or two things from your list every day.

 

 

What do you want to do after the corona-health-crisis?

 

© www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com
© www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com

As we all know, sooner or later there is going to be a time after the coronavirus. What are you looking forward to do once the virus has vanished into thin air?  

 

Write it all down. Here are some of the activities I personally cannot wait to do after the health-crisis:

 

  • Going out and hugging people.
  • Meeting friends.
  • Sitting in a café and enjoy a latte.
  • Going to a yoga class.
  • Visit my parents and friends in various cities.
  • Going out for dinner.
  • Visiting castles and exhibitions.
  • Going for a holiday in Ireland.
  • Going hiking in the south of Germany.
  • etc.

 

You know the drill by now  …  hang the list, where you can see it and start making plans.

 

 

Look your pet into the eyes and cuddle them

 © www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com.                                                           Image by Cedric Clooth from Pixabay

 

 

When we cuddle our cats and dogs and look them into the eyes, the level of the hormone oxytocin increases in our body. This hormone reduces stress and anxiety levels, it calms us down, lowers blood pressure, etc. It is just great for our physical and psychological health.

 

 

Last but not least, putting it in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“Do you know wherein lies the fun of life?

Be merry! – If that’s not possible, be joyful!”

 

 

Until next time stay healthy and be well.

 

Yours,

  

Sibylle

 

inner works for you

 

sibylle chaudhuri | coaching & training

email: info@sibylle-chaudhuri.com

www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com

 

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Disclaimer

Everything provided in this newsletter is for informational, motivational and/or educational purposes only. Whether you change/do something in your life is your decision and yours only. You carry responsibility for your life.

 

The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical, psychological and/or legal advice, diagnosis, treatment or consulting. Please consult your physician, therapist, lawyer regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your concerns, symptoms and/or medical condition.

 

 

© sibylle chaudhuri | coaching & training

 

 

 

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sibylle chaudhuri

inner works for you
coaching & training

Ratingen / Duesseldorf
info@sibylle-chaudhuri.com
www.sibylle-chaudhuri.com
Tel.: +49 (0)172 649 49 26