“...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,”
said Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural address.
These are challenging times in Colorado and around the world with the onset of COVID-19. The degree of uncertainty that exists can understandably breed anxiety, and messages that intend to inform and help can make people more afraid. However, we can and will get through this together!
In my research study about factors that help and hurt in successfully pursuing a passionate purpose, I asked people what holds them back and what encourages them in their pursuit. One of the biggest hindrances is FEAR. Fear causes self-doubt, anxiety, and anger; fear is a heavy burden. What would your life be like right now if you could cast out that fear?
Sometimes fear can help you to take action and avoid danger. For example during the COVID-19 pandemic that means enacting social distancing, practicing self-isolation, and thoroughly washing your hands. It can stop you from crossing a dangerous road or from getting hurt. However, so often fear is NOT rational. It can turn into obsessiveness - thinking about something over and over until you are immobilized and cannot take needed action. Fear can block effective movement.
Once you are aware of the potential negative impacts of fear, the next step is to take appropriate action. Use the “Pack Strategy" to unpack hindrances and pack energizers for your journey.
Here are some practical pointers:
- Lead. Take positive action, be calm, and be strong. Often this means focusing less on yourself and more on helping others. Work on being fearless.
- Select. Get in touch with what triggers you and be selective in what and who you listen, watch, surf, invest time in, and talk with.
- Use good judgment. Determine whether your fear is rational or irrational. If irrational, force yourself to quiet your mind and focus on positive aspects of life. When there is real danger, your body reflexively mobilizes to avoid it, minimize it, or fight through it.
- Be optimistic. Carry a hopeful, upbeat disposition and believe that good prevails. Repeat positive affirmations. Think of the good work being done by so many government employees, medical personnel, public health workers, non-profits, and businesses to proactively address the current challenges and ensure your safety.
- Surround. Circle yourself with less fearful people. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid. A recent research study showed that happiness is contagious. If you are around happy people, you will be more happy. If you are around fearful people, you will be more fearful. So find happy, kind, unafraid people with whom to associate.
We human beings are strong and resilient, perhaps stronger than we even know. Unpack fear itself from your life. Strive to appropriate action, be aware of fear triggers, use good judgment, stay positive, and surround yourself with unafraid people.