During this time of uncertainty, we at FSorb are committed to continuing to offer you tips and practices to help support a quiet and healthy mind.
The present-day pandemic and spread of the Coranviras is generating massive amounts of stress due to the change and uncertainty across the globe. In times like these, we’ve found it helpful to come back to some basic emotional intelligence and presence practices so we can truly respond from an empowered and grounded place.
We know many people right now are feeling anxiety about their health, concerned about their business or work, or feeling immobilized by travel bans.
The common denominator of what many are feeling is fear. Fear is one of the most ancient and core human emotions that is often felt in the solar plexus area. It is important to remember that fear is a normal, healthy, human emotion. Embarrassment around feeling fear or trying to tell yourself not to be afraid just increases the grip of fear. The feeling of fear can range from a slight undercurrent of tightness in the belly to a gripping, breathless feeling in the abdomen leading to a full-on panic.
If you are feeling any level of fear along this spectrum, there are ways to catalyze this potentially challenging experience into an opportunity for personal growth and enhanced emotional intelligence.
The Mechanics of Fear
Fear is a core human emotion felt when under real or perceived threat. It is first and foremost, a survival mechanism. When we detect a source of stress, the brain sends out a cascade of hormones that prime us to either fight or flee from danger. These hormones can cause an increase in heart rate, shallow breathing, and shut down of normal functions, like digestion, to reserve blood flow for muscles. The most ancient parts of our brain associated with safety and survival kick into gear. This limits our access to the most evolved part of the human brain, the prefrontal cortex, which enables us to plan, innovate, and solve complex problems.
This explains why when people are in fear they can feel a range of discomfort in their bodies and often act in irrational ways. Additionally, prolonged experiences of fear (such as daily anxiety and stress) puts the body into a compromised state that increases the chance of chronic disease.
Catalyzing Fear into Personal Growth
Any situation that has the potential to generate fear (such as the current state of affairs in the world) is an opportunity to get to know yourself better by becoming familiar with your personal physical and mental fear responses.
With the right practices and tools, we can learn how to regulate our bodies’ responses to fear and develop stronger, more stable nervous systems to keep us grounded and present even in challenging times.
How to Face Into Fear and Build Resilience
Step 1: Identify your body’s experience of fear.
Locate the physical sensation of fear in your body. Where do you feel it? What does it feel like? (An example would be feeling a tight, churning sensation in your belly or shallow breathing in your chest.)
On a scale of 1-10 how intense if your fear (1 being slight anxiety, 10 being total panic)?
Step 2: Deepen your breath
Fear often dysregulates the breath. Spend 5-10 minutes taking deep, full belly/chest breaths.
Step 3: Express Your Fear
Being willing to say out loud, to yourself or others, “I feel scared,” is a masterful emotional intelligence move. Many people worry the opposite might be true— that “letting the cat out of the bag” will only intensify their fears. In fact, fear thrives on being kept secret, and only once revealed can it begin to lessen.
Step 4: Move
Even small physical movements (like wiggling your fingers and toes) can begin to move the energy of fear through your body. More intense movement, like fully body shaking or bouncing helps return the body to balance in times of stress. All animals engage in “therapeutic tremoring,” or shaking, after a stressful experience to return homeostasis and release the stress hormones caused by fear. You can encourage this process by voluntarily moving and shaking the body.
Step 5: Claim Healthy Response-Ability
In moments of fear, many people can feel out of control. You can give yourself your power back by discerning what is within your own responsibility, or personal ability to respond, and what is not. You cannot control the spread of coronavirus throughout the world, the ban of travel, or the mandatory shut down of your business.
You can control your personal willingness to address, express and move the energy of your fear to restore your body and brain into a balanced state. From this state of balance, you will be better equipped to make powerful and rational (not panic-based) choices on how you would personally like to respond to your circumstances.
We hope you find these suggestions to be helpful and worth passing along to others. If you have any questions please let us know.