Look around today and you are almost certain to find an overwhelming number of fear inducing messages from the mainstream media, social media and across the internet. I’ve been incredulous at the hysteria and resulting mass shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, cleaning products and even (in my local area) bottled water, fresh foods, dry and canned goods and food in general. Shelves are noticeably empty.
I have been so shocked by all this that I decided to adjust my perspective from incredulity to one of curiosity and do a little research. Go ahead–please use virtually any search engine and quickly search the effects of fear on our bodies, on our minds, on our well-beings. It is astonishing to learn that simply the perception of fear in others can actually induce fear in us and an equal fear response in our bodies. Yikes. Sadly…the more fear spreads…well, the more it spreads.
According to a 2008 article written by Jay Winner, MD on psychologytoday.com (context: this article was written during the financial crisis):
“Many people are living in fear that is made worse by constant consumption of news media. I am not a financial expert, so I would not presume to know the future course of our economy. (The financial experts, on the other hand, can correctly predict market direction almost 50% of the time.) We do, however, need to look at the motivations of the media who advise us. Keep in mind that one of the main goals of media is to keep you consuming it. If you quickly change the channel to another station, they don’t make money. Watching people talk about financial “concerns” will likely not keep your eyes glued to the tube as much as talk of a financial “crisis.” ”
This August 2017 article by Daniel Bennett (I encourage you to read through it via link provided) goes a bit further by describing a specific incident in Tennessee where a teacher complained of a terrible gas like odor in her classroom. She soon began feeling ill. Students in class almost immediately began demonstrating similar symptoms. Fire, police, ambulances came and evacuated the building taking more than 80 people to the hospital where many were kept/hospitalized overnight. Blood test results found nothing. Several subsequent official investigations found NOTHING.
“A report in the New England Journal of Medicine attributed the outbreak to a phenomenon known as ‘mass psychogenic illness’, which occurs when the fear of infection spreads just as virulently as the disease itself. The students and staff had decided that, based on the behaviour of those around them, there was a real threat they needed to be afraid of.“
What does this mean? Should we disregard this “virus” as a hoax? Absolutely not. We should absolutely be aware of it and EDUCATE ourselves. How can we educate ourselves? By seeking valid medical advice from a variety of trusted, credible and reputable sources. Always carefully consider the source.
Listening to media channels and reading internet speculations from people with no verifiable credentials (especially for any length of time) is NOT recommended.
Relying on speculation, gossip and participating in mass hysteria rarely results in a good outcome. We are our own best care-takers and advocates. Further, understanding that we can only control ourselves and that which is truly within our control is liberating. If we can focus on that while remaining calm, we begin to set an example for others.
What else? Perhaps turn off the tube/social media speculations (or at least limit) and GET BUSY. Take control of your present. Today is a gift. Use it. Treasure it. Sew. Quilt. Create. Go ahead. Let your inner artist acknowledge and express any fears you are experiencing. It’s OK to do this and let it out in a constructive manner. Make something for yourself. Make something for someone else. Check on family members, neighbors and friends (you can do all this from a distance via phone, text, email). Shine your light by doing something positive that is meaningful to you. I’ll do things that are meaningful to me. All together when we shine our lights, we make a difference. These things are healthy and good. In the DOING of shining our light of love we take back our power, find purpose and create/stimulate our own well-being.
In summary: Remain calm. Control intake of information and limit exposure to fear mongering. Educate using credible sources and resources. Take known preventative measures after evaluating several reputable sources. DO SOMETHING/ANYTHING POSITIVE.
I am not a scientist, medical expert or psychiatrist. I am just a girl who loves YOU and others. I want the best for you and for all of us. Life is so short and we are all only here for a little while. Let’s dig deep for that light of love and shine it brightly.
With that…it’s time for me to get back to my projects for the day. Happy sewing, quilting and creating. Let’s get back to looking for the good in life and really living it. Love is the answer. Forward is the way. WE CAN DO THIS!