Rational vs Irrational Fear

Philip Hicks Coaching

This seems especially apt at the moment given the madness we are seeing with Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the general public response.

Fear is a natural response to a real or perceived threat. It has kept humans alive for centuries and it’s hardwired into us.

At the time of writing we’re about a month or so into dealing with an outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a real threat and absolutely there is a need to be concerned, but how concerned should you be?

If you are over 50 or immunocompromised (have an underlying health condition that means your immune system is weaker) then you are at the highest risk of serious illness or death if you catch it but even then the death rate currently is sitting around 2% (high for sure but not so astronomical that it’s a guaranteed death sentence even if you are in the highest risk group).

One of the biggest and best things you can be doing right now if you are concerned about Coronavirus or another threat in your life is practice mindfulness and owning what is and is not an actual threat to you.

Sounds odd but with all the mass hysteria and stockpiling that is taking place it is fundamental to your own mental and physical health to know what you should and should not worry about.

  1. Are you taking care of your basic hygiene? Washing hands regularly, regular bathing/showering, taking a decent multivitamin.
  2. Do you have enough basic supplies to last for 2-3 weeks if your local government mandates social distancing or isolation – store cupboard food items, frozen food, fresh food, basic medication (painkillers, cold and flu capsules), any perscription medication, basic household cleaning supplies? That does not mean 50 rolls of toilet paper unless you have 100 people living at your house in which case you might want to split up a bit anyway.
  3. Do you have any plans that will involve large crowds of people or being exposed to people currently sick? If yes, what can you do to minimize that? Cancel attending the event or visiting sick people, be extra vigilant about personal hygiene, get plenty of fresh air.
  4. Do you have any planned non-essential travel? If so, take a look at the airline or travel operators website. Many are offering free re-booking of travel or full refunds/vouchers for future travel.

How do you control panic and cope with social isolation?

  • Deep breathing – breathing cannot be underestimated and we are often horrible at doing it because we get lazy. Breathe in through the nose and expand your belly, then breathe out sucking in your belly to fully expel the air. It is great exercise for your abdominal muscles and great at clearing your lungs.
  • Cold showers – perhaps an odd suggestion but cold showers snap you right back into the here and now and they certainly get you breathing – check out Wim Hof otherwise known at the Iceman who made cold showers and ice baths more mainstream.
  • Drink plenty of water, preferably warm water. Warm water helps kill bacteria. Water is essential to keep us healthy. Food we can go without for days, water we absolutely cannot and flushing through any toxins in our system is vital to avoiding getting sick.
  • Go for a walk – fresh air is excellent for clearing your head and giving you much needed daylight. Good thing about this time of year is the weather is improving so it is easy to get out and about for a walk. Just make sure to avoid large crowds of people.
  • Speak to someone – There are many coaches (me included) and therapists who work over the phone or online. Connect with us. We live in world of supporting people with all manner of issues and concerns, particularly during times when people are stressed. I know I am going to be answering emails and doing coaching sessions especially during this time – I work internationally so wherever you are based if you have internet, which you do if you are reading this, then contact me to find out more or book a 30 minute discovery session.
  • Do something that you have been putting off for so long like an online course you’ve been too busy or wrapped up in work to do. You can do it from home and benefit from some social distancing while things calm down a bit. Social distancing has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of Coronavirus and other coughs and colds. This is not the time to be a ‘hero’ and go into work sick.
  • Have FaceTime or Skype parties and connect with people you have not spoken to in a long time. Speaking to friends or family can be great to stop you overthinking. We all need to be supporting each other.
  • Stay off of social media – Social media is toxic at the moment with all the negative news stories especially during a time of panic. Read government websites and research properly. Mass media has reported so much fake news recently it’s hard to determine what is fake and what is real. Places for good information are the World Health Organization, local government (in Canada that is the Center for Disease Control by province, e.g. BC).

Wishing you all a safe and well time. Get in touch if you want additional support.

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