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  • Writer's pictureDavid Brady

Fear Loops COVID-19 virus

Lots of things are being canceled and I am sure more are to come all stemming from the COVID-19 virus. If you are old enough to remember 20 years ago as an adult you can probably put this new threat into perspective. Having been exposed to the terrible events surrounding September, 11, 2001 you will be able to separate the fear and preserved threat from the delicate math juggle that is threat assessment. Knowing this is empowering and tends to lower the anxiety that most people will be feeling regarding this new “unseen” threat. Like the general elevated anxiety that surrounded those days following 9/11 with the travel bans and no flights anywhere over US air space, to the increased scrutiny when any type of movement outside the home was necessary. While lots of people will argue with me on all of the ways this is different and I will agree that no two circumstances are the same in regards to threats. What I am trying to do is frame the current issue regarding COVID-19 and allow for a wider view. Look at it as an evaluation of the felling surrounding what it is to feel anxiety regarding something that is unseen and we have little control over. I will not get into how to protect yourself or who is more susceptible only to say look for advice from the CDC and it’s safe to say you can probably take with a grain of salt what you are seeing and hearing on the news.

No one is impervious to the feeling of anxiety some people just learn how to control it so it doesn’t control them. How we learn to do that is different from person to person. While some need only to make a mental analysis of the situation for them to evaluate and adjust to the risks. Others may need to be coached through a scenario to help them find a place of understanding and comfort. The key element to finding a place of reduced anxiety is to become comfortable with the risks involved using some level of visualization to lower your sensitivity with the threat.

A visualizatio is a powerful tool that can help people move around, through and past things that they find themself stuck on. If you will indulge me for a moment I would like to bring you through a scenario that will illustrate how easy it is to let your mind control you by stoking fear instead of courage.

With people self-quarantining or being told not to travel the stakes seemed to have been elevated to some degree. Next, you will have noticed that your receiving emails for associates and friends that meetings and events have been canceled or pushed back indefinitely. Once this starts you will start to see warning signs all over the place. You will be out driving and notice less traffic on the road or perhaps fewer people in your favorite coffee shop. Somehow these new sighs will make things more serious for you, as to say “look this thing is for real” and you will inevitably reflect to the childhood birthday game of musical chairs, you don’t want to be the last one standing when the music stops. You decide to call in sick and to go to the grocery store before making the return trip home. When you go into the market you notice there are sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer at the front entrance and someone is replacing the stock of wipes. You make your way down the isles to pick up the few things you know you need and see that most of the toilet paper and bottled water are gone. You ask yourself do I need toilet paper? When you get to the check-out you notice the cashier is wearing gloves and you seem shocked. You make sure to pay with a credit card and are reluctant to use that little electronic pen tethered to the card reader. When you get to the car you quickly use some hand sanitizer that you keep in the glove box in case of emergency, and then you notice maybe your throat seems scratchy, could it come on that fast?

I think that is probably enough for you to get the point. We tend to see things when we are looking for them even things that are not very relevant to the situation. We then weave them into a narrative that reinforces an assumption we have already come to. It is similar to buying a new Honda and noticing everyone seems to be driving a Honda. You emphatically know there are no more Honda’s on the road today from yesterday baring the new one you just bought, the difference is you are looking for them now. So how do you evaluate the threat and not overreact and fall into fits of panic? The first thing you do is to take an inventory of your thoughts. What is going through your mind is going to have a direct impact on the level of anxiety “fear “or courage you feel. It is important to choose your thoughts wisely. This is probably a good time to introduce a tool we like to teach and use called interdiction of fear loops. When teaching this tool we like to start in the performance aspect of peoples life. Physical endurance sports or anything that is going to push people to their limit is a good place to show what this tool can do in real-time, and under controlled settings. We do that so there is a firm understanding of how to use the tool when you need to push through tough times in practice before the stakes are high when things count.

In the diagram bellow, you will see how you can choose to go from “False limiting beliefs” to positive ones in the mater of a microsecond. When you notice you are falling into a fear- based thought quickly interdict by bringing your attention to the opposite a powerful self-image to pull yourself out of it. To do that you will need to do some developmental work on a powerful self-image along with some power statements. By doing this you can you will transfer the concentration from something that is little service to you and can bring on fear to one that will inspire confidence. This tool can take some time to implement consistently but when you do it pays dividends and allows you to increase your courage, reduce your anxiety and among other things improve your self-image. For help with this tool and lots of others reach out to us for a private conversation.

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