Our country, our state, our town and our lives have been drastically impacted by the global pandemic. Most of the developed world has closed down. This is unprecedented and it can be frightening. Sudden, unexpected changes to our lives often are. It is easy to feel afraid, stressed and anxious. You are not alone if you do.
The pandemic has spread to over 100 countries and billions of people are worried they might become infected. Non-stop news coverage is focused on the virus and its harmful impacts. Health experts try their best to predict the intensity and scope of its spread, but no one knows for sure. There is uncertainty about how long it will last or where the next outbreak will occur.
And what of the local, national and global economies? Not knowing how deep or how long a recession might last only adds to our anxiety. Many can’t work and are worried about paying their bills. Business owners worry about paying their loans. Our governments are trying to help, but will it be enough and will it work?
All this uncertainty can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety and even anger which are all forms of fear. Fear is an emotion our body feels when we believe we are in danger. It switches our body’s metabolic systems into what is commonly known as the ‘flight or fight’ response. Stress hormones like adrenaline are created, throwing our body’s functions into emergency mode. We can experience this as a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, upset stomach, and even the inability to react (emotional paralysis), etc.
While the ‘flight or fight’ is a natural response to keep us safe in an emergency, living in a constant state of fear will harm us. It is not healthy. Our life energy is redirected away from important body functions such as regeneration, digestion, growth, but most importantly our immune system. Science has shown how continual stress can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and depression which make us susceptible to illnesses.
The fact is, living in fear drastically reduces our body’s natural ability to fight this virus. This means not only an increased susceptibility to the virus, but also increased severity of the illness if we get it.