Fear of the unknown can overwhelm us and impact our body, mind and spirit in unhealthy ways as we start obsessively worrying about the future, which some refer to it as “future tripping.”
The actual purpose of fear is to signal our brain that there is potential for danger or death telling us to ‘fight, flee or freeze.’ Though there is benefit to it, that changes to negative when we are consumed by prolonged bouts of fear.
Psychotherapist Terri Cole, who has worked with women for 20 years, states that we must be aware of the psychological, emotional and physical cost to walking around in a constant, heightened state of fear.
She says being on constant alert is not good for you and can even compromise your immune system. Exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, brain fog and depression are all symptoms that your nervous system is being overloaded by fear.
And if this describes you, it may also suggest this pandemic is exposing deeper emotional issues and trauma in your life, that you have been carrying around for years. We are finding it difficult to handle the current pandemic, because we haven’t resolved past issues.
And many experienced counsellors agree that ‘being in crisis’ can create opportunity to deal with this past trauma and lead to a healthier you.
For myself, facing my ‘trauma’ issues through counselling brought a much-needed turnaround in my life. As I went through it, I began to understand how my past history, was still infecting me years later. As I understood this, it enabled me to focus on these issues and deal with them, often by forgiving those who hurt me. And during these group sessions, forgiving was the turning point for all of us.
How are you responding to this current pandemic? Is it revealing deeper unresolved issues in your life? Identify them and then forgive those who need forgiving. If you need counselling, then seek it out.
The next step is to strengthen your ‘be here now’ muscle’.
According to Terri Cole, when we are constantly reliving worst case scenarios and are plagued by negative thoughts about the future, then a reset is in order.
We must control our thoughts and learn to live in the present moment. It removes us from fear generated thoughts worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and will probably never happen — future tripping.
Terri Cole says each one of us has a right to our feelings, but you also can choose the lens on how to look at life during difficult seasons. If you are feeling worn out by constant fear, one suggestion that Terri gives is to start looking at things you can be grateful for. Gratitude calms the soul and combats fear.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in every situation, that means good and bad times, because gratitude calms the troubled heart.
Author Maya Angelou writes:
“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same place. Invite one to stay.”
During these time of crisis, we need to resolve past troubles, be thankful for what we have and then take the advice of the Psalmist who wrote:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
How to manage the fear of the unknown: Terri Cole