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Spontaneous Overflow Reflecting in Tranquility

The Official Blog of Michael Schoenhofer, Executive Director

Thoughts by Myself #16 - Fear is Normal

Reduce Fear, but Don't Eliminate it.

Last night, watching the Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber) on TV, I got caught up in the magic of the show. At the end, I felt sad watching so many actors on stage in the Albert Hall in London, and the hall filled with people. I wondered would I would ever get to go to an auditorium, a ballpark, or a stadium without fear of catching a deadly disease. I know this is petty and small, but I felt sad.

Many people are suffering far worse situations than not being able to go to a show or a concert or even see your kids in a school play. People are suffering from job loss, illness, even domestic violence. But going to a show was a bit of relief from the harsh reality of life. Now the "magic" that actors and musicians bring to the stage, or sporting events bring to fans, seems like a distant memory or a future dream.

It Is Fear.

We are all experiencing some level of trauma these days. Trauma shatters our sense of security, and we feel helpless and vulnerable. These feelings are a normal reaction to this situation and they manifest in many forms—emotional, physical, and cognitive.

  • Emotional Symptoms

  • Shock and disbelief

  • Sadness or grief

  • Helplessness

  • Guilt

  • Anger

  • Shame

  • Relief

  • Agitation

  • Physical Symptoms

  • Dizzy

  • Trembling

  • Racing Thoughts

  • Disturbed sleep patterns

  • Aches and pains

  • Loss of or increase in appetite

  • Headaches

  • Cognitive

  • Confusion

  • Poor Problem Solving

  • Loss of Time

  • Hyper Vigilance

There is no right or wrong way to feel. Here are a few tips to help deal with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty:

Tip #1 – Minimize Media Exposure – avoid obsessively reading, watching or listening to the news.

Tip #2 – Notice Your Feelings as they arise and name them.

Tip #3 – You are not helpless or powerless – get back into a routine.

Tip #4 – Get Moving. Get some exercise. Eat and sleep well.

Tip #5 – Reach Out to Others. A connection is so important.

Tip #6 – Put significant life decisions on hold for a while.

“Acknowledging fear takes the sting out of it. Resisting or denying fear makes it lurk by your side constantly.”

“Love and accept yourself just as you are, fear and all. The fearful part is like a small child that needs to be heard and reassured. Embrace it. Recognize the part is afraid, and let it exist next to your level headedness.”

(Dr. Christine Bradstreet, It’s OK to be Afraid)

Yes. I feel sad and fearful. And yes, it isn't always about big stuff. But when I acknowledge this sadness, I know I am connecting with people everywhere who feel the same as I do.

Stay Safe.

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