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  • Writer's pictureTammi Kirkness

Feeling worried? Here’s some Fear-Management Techniques

The last few days have been a wild emotional ride for everyone I’ve spoken to and it only seems to be increasing. The panic levels are at an unprecedented rate and people are moving from alert to alarmed.

While I cannot give health or quarantine advice, I wanted to take some time to share some fear management ideas:

Manage Your Fear Response with Deep Breathing

To calm your nervous system, one of the best ways is to flood your body with extra oxygen. When we are panicky we automatically shallow breathe which sends a message to the body that there’s a risk close by and it can send us further into panic. Box breathing is a great stress reliever.

To do box breathing, simply do the following:

4 seconds – breathe in

4 seconds – hold the breath

4 seconds – breathe out

4 seconds – hold

Ideally do ten rounds.

To be guided through this, here’s a video you can follow along with.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

One the techniques I often share at workshops is The Acknowledgment Technique. This allows people to acknowledge the situation they’re in, the emotions their experiencing and the opportunity to refocus on whatever is required. It goes like this:

Say these sentences out aloud (or if people are around, say them in your head):

  • What I would like to say is … (insert the facts of what is occurring)

  • The emotions associated with this are… (insert all the emotions you’re experiencing)

  • But I’m willing to put it to the side so I can focus on… (insert thing you’d like to focus on).

  • Breathe in, exhale out.

In practice right now, an example might look like:

  • What I would like to say is … I’ve just been to the supermarket and most of the shelves are bare.

  • The emotions associated with this are… fear, worry, nervousness, curiosity, anxiety, panic

  • But I’m willing to put it to the side so I can focus on… driving home safely to make some healthy food for my family.

  • Breathe in, exhale out.

Stay Connected with your Community

Utilise all your communication tools like whatsapp, skype and regular phone calls to both (a) check in with those around you and (b) to talk about completely unrelated topics to give your mind space to have respite from the government updates. If you would like additional support 1:1 coaching sessions are available over Zoom, click here to schedule a session.

Avoid Consuming Panic-Based Media

While the media can be a great source of information, remember that the media makes their highest revenue during times of panic. Because they have more eyeballs consuming their information, they can charge more for advertising. As a result of this, sometimes the media can bloat the severity levels of information to keep people watching and reading. Do your best to discern helpful information from reliable sources.

Practice Gratitude

Studies show that practicing regular gratitude can dramatically increase our resilience levels (some show by as much as 25%). No time like the present to ramp up our ability to bounce back from small and large stresses. I recommend writing down three things each day that you’re grateful for and having each member of your household do the same.

Gratitude examples might look like this:

1. I’m grateful for the current state of health of my family and I

2. I’m grateful for having access to a car to help me get to the supermarket

3. I’m grateful for running water to allow us to keep washing our hands

Remember that these times of fear and worry can affect us in expected and unexpected ways. Be kind to your self and others.


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