I’ll be honest – I’m scared a lot more than I let on. These days are filled with a great level of fear stemming from uncertainty. With COVID-19 taking over nearly every aspect of our lives – the news, our social media feeds, our daily routines and even our employment – our sense of having control over our lives becomes increasingly compromised. Time continues to go by without definitive answers, we continue to stay quarantined, more businesses close their doors, the roads are emptier, and the more fear we start to feel within ourselves. It’s only inevitable that the fear of not knowing what tomorrow will bring transcends on a global scale and begins to shroud our ability to push on and stay positive.
Quite simply, it is an emotion that arises when there is a perceived threat or danger present, eliciting a fight or flight response. Fear is one of the most powerful and primal human emotions that is complexly hardwired into our brains, and how we react to fear has evolved over time (Very Well Mind). The physical reaction to fear can be sweating, increased heart rate, and high levels of adrenaline to keep us alert (Smithsonian Mag). With the release of adrenaline comes the release of cortisol, which can be damaging to our internal organs when we are exposed to it for long periods of time. Our ancestors knew whether they had to fight or flee from danger. Right now, we are watching the news and absorbing the world’s current state, unable to fight and unable to flee.
I noticed a distinct surge of adrenaline in my body after we were declared to be in a state of emergency. Having suffered from anxiety for a large portion of my teenage and adult years, I’ve learned to navigate through difficult emotions right at their onset. I am a living, breathing example that it is possible to manage emotions during a pandemic.
With that being said, what are some simple coping mechanisms we can use when we are scared?
Humans have become innately talented at pushing aside and ignoring emotions. You need to be honest with yourself. If you are feeling scared, acknowledge the fact that you are feeling fear. You are human, and you feel emotion. Become aware by acknowledging the physical symptoms you are feeling. By acknowledging and accepting your fear, you can begin to effectively manage it before it manifests itself in a more serious mental and/or physical way.
Once you have become aware of the fear you are feeling, ask yourself what the possible triggers can be. A common theme that controls fear is our sense of control. My trigger is when I read or watch the news. I have found myself scrolling on my phone for hours reading articles, and I increasingly become more and more uncomfortable. I feel that same fear of the unknown, that I have no control over my life, and I start asking myself the same questions “what is going to happen tomorrow? When will this end? How many people will be affected in the long run? How will I be affected?” I’ve learned to put the phone down, change the channel, and focus my mind on this very moment. I am happy, I am healthy, I am comfortable, and there is no impending doom. I am in control of this moment.
This is an especially scary time for many people. We want nothing more than to be with our loved ones, but we need to practice physical distancing to minimize the risk of spreading the infection. We are social creatures, and while nothing compares to a hug from your parent or best friend, technology has come a long way to make us feel connected even when we’re far away. If you’re feeling fear, reach out to your family or to your friends. We encourage you to stay social – virtually! Plan a Zoom party, call or FaceTime your friends, host a Netflix Party and watch movies at the same time with your friends, play online two or multi-player games – anything that brings you together virtually rather than physically. Emotions are contagious. When you see your friends smiling and laughing, your highly socialized brain picks up on their emotional cues. Lastly, talk to your loved ones. Talk about how you are feeling. You might be surprised to learn how many of them are feeling the same emotions.
Reset Zone offers 1-minute tools to help you deal with fear, anger, anxiety, disappointment, sadness and stress. The best part is that they can all be done from the comfort of your home. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for inspiration and tips on how to manage and reset your emotions.
Smithsonian Mag – What Happens in the Brain when we Feel Fear – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-happens-brain-feel-fear-180966992/
Very Well Mind – The Psychology Behind Fear – https://www.verywellmind.com/the-psychology-of-fear-2671696
Natasha Radlovic is the Communications Director for Reset Zone. She brings to the table over 7 years of experience in Public Relations and 6 years of progressive Corporate Communications experience. Natasha has worked in healthcare, technology and education, but her true passion is working in a start-up environment – especially one that focuses on health and emotional wellness! She’s excited to begin a new chapter with Reset Zone and strategize methods to promote and grow the app and the Reset Zone Community.