23 Mar COVID-19: Turning Fear into Alertness
Going for my morning run, I snapped a photo of a closed community center notice. Traffic volume was unusually light. I’d replaced my morning cycle commute with a round trip run in my neighbourhood, ending with me working from home – all signs that the world was a very different place compared to a few weeks earlier. In some parts of the world, it is downright calamitous.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by fear. However, if you turn your fear into alertness, your mental health will benefit.
Fear is an emotional response. Alertness is a cognitive response.
During times of crisis, our brain needs to be the boss of our feelings. The world is changing rapidly in response to COVID-19. It’s easy to be fearful listening to the news. But being gripped by fear will only make matters worse.
Being alert, rather than fearful, is an important coping mechanism during times of crisis.
Being alert keeps your brain ready to take constructive action as needed. You’ll be better able to distinguish the reputable news sources from fake news. You’ll know what you should and should not be doing. And be sure not to listen to the same news repeatedly – that’s a sure way to get your fear fired up.
Guide your mind away from worry and towards helping yourself and others.
Of course, turning your fear into alertness is not easy. Start with taking a deep breath. Turn to thinking of what you can do rather than what is outside of your control. You can wash your hands using the proper WHO method. You can practice social distancing. And you can help a neighbour, by getting groceries for someone or by checking in on someone with a phone call.
We don’t know how long this crisis will last. Turning your fear into alertness will help make your sanity last.
Let’s be safe and be kind to one another.