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How does fear affect us?

How does fear affect us?

A lot of us have been scared since the outbreak of COVID-19. Fear is an uncomfortable feeling, especially when it starts to take a lot of space in our lives. When your head gets busy with fearful thoughts at work, you focus less, are less productive and it affects your memory too. If this is affecting you or your staff, read on.

Fear isn’t an emotion that most of us understand well. It’s important to reflect on what happens when you’re feeling fear. Understanding fear is the first step towards managing it.

Filling up with fear

When you feel fear, your mind fills with scary and anxious thoughts. Your body also fills up with tension. You become a container for fear. The fear is held in both your body and your mind. Your body becomes tighter and tighter. You hold in so much tension that you can sometimes feel your heart beating. You’re more likely to react with fight, flight or freeze rather than a rational response to a situation.

Becoming slaves to thoughts and feelings

If you feel you’re reacting to what’s going on lately rather than responding and making informed rational choices, you’re not alone. When people feel threatened, they go straight to survival instincts and act in order to protect themselves and the ones they love. When you’re in this mode, you’re reacting with your primal functions. You’re less open to the life that is here, in front of your eyes. Your thoughts and feelings have more control over your decisions and how you behave. You tend to forgo standing back and observing situations. You become a slave to your thoughts and feelings. This has a big impact on you and also on others like family, friends and colleagues.

Misreading situations

You tend to “stay in our own head” and lose your ability to come to your senses. Once again, this is a process that is both physical and mental. You taste your food less. When you look, you miss what is right in front of you, this includes the vibrancy of colours, shapes, facial expressions and body language. You listen selectively and with less quality. This all means that you’re more likely to misread and misinterpret situations. And then get confused or angry about it.

Ending the fear cycle with kindness

If you react with a fear-based body or mind, you spur on the fear cycle, creating more and more fear. You can become more irritable, impatient, frustrated and even angry. Fear leads to becoming small and separate.

Kindness is the perfect antidote to fear. Reacting with kindness is the opposite of fight, flight or freeze (3 common reactions to fear). It’s taking the time to switch from having an automatic reaction to being present and open hearted. Creating a space where you can accept how you feel and not judge yourself for the way you feel. If you feel that fear is slowly taking over, it’s time to start practising kindness and self compassion.

Mindfulness can also help you manage fear and become kinder to yourself. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a free mindful practice that will help clear your mind and reduce fear.

If you’ve been battling with stress, here are a few blogs posts that will help you: