Rethinking Fear

By: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector

I started to resume connecting 1:1 with the people I work with at RSI during this past week, and I was surprised by the array of emotions that I experienced. I must say that it was not like riding a bike, not even close. It was more like just focusing on balancing the bike! Remember what it was like when we first made the attempt to ride without training wheels? A little shaky.

However, after checking in with my sudden social anxiety, I was able to identify some of the challenges of the open road ahead. I, like so many others, have been obsessing about the virus. I have found myself paying extremely close attention to all facets of the pandemic, and tuning into news has become a habit.  I think that I’m trying to ascertain some level of certainty to ease my fears. The reality is that so much of this situation is a journey into the unknown.  

So, what do you do when worry seems to be the proverbial piano on the back? The solution, I think, isn’t found through more worrying. Rather, it’s doing all we can to achieve as much clarity as possible, and understanding that uncertainty is part of life. Doesn’t that help? I must say that I have now started to be a bit more mindful of the amount of news content I’m consuming. But, here are some things that really have helped me to fight a better fight:

Use the pause button. Shortly after the virus veered into my lane, I committed myself giving myself time for calm.  I adopted the practices of deep breathing and meditation. The bottom line is that I was being hijacked by the flood of thoughts and emotions, and running and escaping wasn’t working.

Embracing the fear. The best approach is to be aware of the risks that we face and do all we can to be prepared for any serious or imminent dangers. This is a scary time, especially for those who are more vulnerable to the virus. I realize that I am responsible for my own safety, as well as the safety of those in my community but that by looking at the science, there aren’t any unknowns to feed my fear.

It would do us well to give ourselves more credit, as we have all survived hardships and tackled obstacles at some point in our lives and seen the other side. Now is the time to connect with our bodies and minds, to allow ourselves some grace, and to sleep more restfully. It will not only help us to stave off the fear and anxiety, but it will have lasting positive effects for the rest of our lives.


Learn more about Jeff’s work at RSI on our Community Connections page.