Fear is a huge motivator of the good and the bad. The fear of losing a game will push an athlete to give their best. Fear of failing a test will make a student study hard. Fear of losing a comrade will push a soldier to lay their life on the line and fight for the cause.
Fear can also initiate anger, frustration and a sense of helplessness. A little science lesson from me, fear makes pituitary gland release Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), this nudges adrenal gland to release adrenaline and noradrenaline to create a fight or flight response in
When you are in a state of fear, and someone tells you not to be afraid and you don’t know how to; It is because the hormones have already been released and you cannot will them to go away in an instant.
My fear is for our children. How are they going to cope with the aftermath of this virus? Are we leaving them a world that is forever altered? Will our future generations be destined to deal with hunger and starvation on a daily basis now more than ever? This is my sympathetic nervous system in overdrive.
Unless, I consciously make a choice to focus on the positive I end up in a rabbit hole of constant worry. If you are like me, let me tell you something, permit yourself to worry. We are in an unprecedented time.
The kind that is in your pit and keeps you up at night and makes you restless during the day. It may take some time, but I promise you that you will find it. Let me give an example, if the worry is about lack of money, look deep inside and figure out what is it that makes you scared? Is it not being able to go on vacation? Or is it that you may lose your home? Or is the worry that the children will go hungry? Whatever it is, write it down. Identify the worst case scenario, write it down.
Now that the fear is not abstract but real and facing you on the paper, come up with a plan to conquer it. I know, it is not easy to come up with answers and plans. But it may give you peace in your heart that you are doing something about it. For you know, uncertainty breeds fear. And this in turn causes intolerance, anger and resentment. I try to put my anxieties in two categories. Things I can change and things out of my control. Take action! One step in the direction of things you can change.
Nostalgia is a great healer. Reminisce about the great things you have accomplished in the past, they may not be grand compared to others. But they are your accomplishments. Visualize what the world would look like when you are not afraid. Visualize how you can play a vital role in that journey. If you want to create a change and conquer the restless agitation, start with yourself and make it small. The only person you can change is yourself.
Fill yourself with positivity and gratitude. Even though you don’t feel it, try to find gratitude in the breeze you feel, the innocent smile of a child, the safe nest that you created for someone or when you play with your pet. Believe that you are capable of making a change. Repeat it every day to yourself, write it down and if need be scream it till you believe it .
Another way to overcome fear is to give.
Joy and fear do not coexist. The more joyful activities, however small, you add to your day the more peaceful you will feel. Being responsible for everything is an overwhelming thought for me. I believe in the power of prayer and meditation. It makes me feel at ease that there is someone watching over me. That there is something bigger than me and that I can contribute to a bigger cause. My cause is not as big as Nikolai Vavilov’s but it is still my cause. That is my reason to conquer the doubt and move forward.
My cause is your health. Taking care of people and their health gives me immense joy. Their trust in me is an enormous responsibility and there is always that fear that I may do something wrong. But the belief that there is someone guiding my hands eliminates the uncertainty. We all experience a sense of panic when you let your child go to the first day of school, there is an uncertainty when you move to a new city, and there is that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are asking your crush out for the first time. But we trust the process and go with it.
As nervous and scared as you may be, plan. Plan for you for the future, do not give up in despair. Humans are funny creatures. We love looking forward to happier times. The happier times shall come. Plan for the move you have always wanted, plan to get out of the toxic relationship, plan to have a huge party, and plan to buy that first home. Just as Rome was not built in a day, it may take you a while but you are drawing the blueprint for your dreams and hopes.
Promise yourself that you will conquer the fear for no one but yourself.
~ Dr. Sirisha Bhandaru