Updated: Feb 10
We are experiencing anxiety on a global scale - and it needs to stop
Over the decades since the end of WW1, humankind has been subjected to many fears about the world ending.
In the 1920s, there was a world wide financial crisis
In the 1930s, there was imminent threat of war
In the 1940s, there was a food shortage (rations)
In the 1950s, there was the 'atomic bomb'
In the 1960s, there was the experimental drug abuse
In the 1970s, there was Vietnam war, National strikes and fuel shortages
In the 1980s, there was Bank failures, rising interest rates, AIDS and HIV
In the 1990s, there was a mass cull of cows because of BSE in Britain
In the 2000s and 2010s, there were a variety of flu's we could get from farm animals
However, it looks like the fear factor has struck GOLD with in the form of another virus called CV-19.
Fear causes stress. Stress raises your heart beat, blood pressure, and makes breathing uneasy.
It's called anxiety.
I lived through times when interest rates on mortgages, credit cards and loans were rising faster than we could earn a dime and I (as well as many others) had to cut back on various things that made life a little more comfortable - like eating. Jacket potatoes were the 'in' thing to eat and I sure did eat many of them.
Anxiety is a kind of fear-fuelled emotion that can get out of hand if not dealt with properly. can cause sleepless nights, intense worry, loss of apetite and general bad health all round. The kind of bodily trembling we feel on the outside is just a minor issue to what we deal with on the inside.
It's infectious too.
You know when you can sense someone is upset, just as much as you know that someone is happy or when someone is looking at you - you glance up and catch them in the act. It's a sensation inside. It's a knowing. A feeling. You can feel or sense when someone is frightened.
Fear is a worrisome emotion to deal with. It's primitive and relates to our instincts of facing danger. It is expressed in the body by the following:
Of course, difficult times produce difficult emotions to deal with. However, when you reframe the phrase 'difficult times' or 'difficulties' with the word 'challenges' then your mind is able to surmount them. Why?
Your brain is a problem solving machine.
It always has been. It always will be. Just allow it to do its job and you'll feel better all round. One of the best ways to do this is, before you go to sleep, pose it a question. Focus on one thing that is troubling you and ask it to figure that out for you.
You will get an answer, but it will be subtle. So you'll need to keep an eye out. The answer will come as a 'realisation' rather than a verbal response from someone you know. You'll find yourself saying:
"Ah yes! That's the answer."
Uncertainty about a situation will cause anxiety to rise inside you. It's the 'not knowing' that provokes un-verbalised questions that are felt deep in the core of you.
Not only has the current worldwide situation caused us to worry about catching a dis-ease that can't be seen, we are being faced with valid, concrete worries about how to pay the bills or feed the family should we lose our job (just as I have) or go out of business.
People are natrually facing the toughest of times just now
It is understood that our brains are quick to spot fearful feelings and fascial expressions. When someone is frightened, they give off a vibration. That vibration is expressed not only the face, but in the actions and movements of the body too. You know this because, as I said in the paragraph above, you have sensed it.
We are a bit like dogs as well. Yeap! In that, when we are worried and stressed, we give off a scent that warns others of the fear inside us. Although we are not consciously aware of it, we can sense it through the olefactory glands in our noses.
Normally, these senses enable us to grow together as a community. To bond with others. We are able to empathise and to reach out to those who need a little bit of help or are living in fear. Sadly, because the whole world is feeling the sensation of fear, we are experiencing what is commonly known amongst the mental health brigade as 'emotional contagion'.
I read in Daniel Goleman's book, Emotional Intelligence, that anxiety intensifies the emotional reactions of those around us.
Anxiety is a sensation that relates to being threatened.
In the Great Depression of the 1920s, the US President Roosevelt presented a series of fireside chats via the radio. This was intended to ease anxiety in people. In one of his talks he famously said:
"You have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
This is true but, as with all fears of the world, the current situation is not seen as badly as what people first appeared to think. Most folk are using the opportunity that has freed up their lives, through the 'furlough payments' (80% of their salary), in several ways:
To look at their life from a different viewpoint
To reassess what they want from life
To reach for new goals
To create a better quality of life
Sadly, in a strange effort to gain some semblance of control over their own life, many people have committed suicide. Unusually, my research has found that the people who were bullied as children are more likely not to use the 'final solution' to the disastrous problems they face. One of the reasons is that people who were bullied appear to have developed defense mechanisms that have helped see them through what is happening today.
Whatever way you view this current pandemic, while we live in a relatively free society, the mandates put in place can feel very much like we are being bullied into submission. Those who tended to be bullied as children have become brave in the face of the current adversity.
Because they have grown a thicker skin.
Through enduring the horrible thought of pain - and even threat of death - they have survived many years of struggle through finding their own way through the challenges.
Those who have been bullied have, in a way, have been prepared for what the world is being faced with today.
As a clinical psychotherapist, I caution people's ability to blame the world at large for what goes on inside them. Should you want to find out more about easing the anxiety you feel, I have written a book:
'Anxiety Pangs - what they are and how to get them under your control' which gives you many methods and tools to use to ease the anxiety you may be experiencing right now.
If you should need my help, simply fill in the form on the Contact page and I'll get in touch with you.
Kaye Bewley MA
Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
Feel free to visit her BewleyBooks.com site, where you can sign-up to follow her on her various social media platforms.