“Our fear is great, but greater yet is the truth of our connectedness.” – Tara Brach
The above quote is something that I am currently working to remind myself of every day. Under the current pandemic, just daily living itself can trigger fear. In conversations with friends, family and colleagues during the past few weeks, I have heard any number of fears: will I be able to secure toilet paper, am I going to lose my job, will my already compromised loved one be okay if they contract the virus, and the list goes on.
While life itself is uncertain, the current reality is that even small things we used to be pretty certain of, such as going to the grocery store and finding essential items in different varieties and quantities, is no longer the case. So, how do we not let fear consume us?
It is important to point out that the goal is not to try to stop fearful thoughts altogether. Fear is an important emotion that often helps to keep us safe. Although we may not be able to control when a fearful thought arises, we can control how we respond to the fear. It can be helpful to do a reality check.
- Is this true?
- Is this absolutely a fact?
- What does it make me want to do?
After taking the above inventory, focus on your response: what is under your control at this time. Can you call to check in on that loved one? Can you practice healthy behaviors such as eating well, getting rest, exercising, and practicing mindfulness? Engaging in helping others can also encourage feelings of empowerment. You might offer to do grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor, or donate needed supplies.
Remember, you are not alone. These unprecedented times are undoubtedly bringing up a whole host of emotions. By taking a moment to acknowledge the feeling, perform a reality check, and focus on positive actions, we can keep the fearful mind at bay.