Hani W. Naguib
Are you AFRAID?
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Do you feel this paralyzing sensation holding a firm grip on your thoughts and sometimes your actions? Do you feel like you can’t regain control of the now because of all its possible repercussions in the coming future? Do you think a lot about the future and what can happen?
In the past couple of days, I have noticed a steady increase in the use of the word “afraid”. Whether on social media posts or in private conversations with entrepreneurs, it seems that fear has settled comfortably in minds and hearts. The thing is, if you are afraid, you are normal. Fear has been inside the minds and hearts of humankind since the day the dinosaurs ruled the earth.
So are you afraid?
“I am afraid of what might happen to me.”
“I am afraid of getting sick”
“I am afraid of not being able to make ends meet.”
“I am afraid my life is out of control.”
“I am afraid I am no longer capable of meeting the challenges.”
“I feel beaten up and can not face what is about to come.”
“I am not capable of imagining what will happen tomorrow”.
If any of these thoughts or questions crossed your mind, then your fear is penetrating your mental defenses to a certain extent.
What can you do about it?
First, understand fear
I like this definition by Shani Ospina, a world-renowned personal and executive coach:
Fear is equal to the perceived loss of control combined with projection of negative consequences into the future.
Perceived loss of control + Projection of negative consequences into the future = Fear
Being afraid of getting infected, for example, can put a lot of stress on your perceived sense of control in the now and may project all the possible dire consequences of the near future, like the inability to work and provide for yourself or your family.
However, it is not completely true. You did not lose control; that is only a perception deepened by being in unfamiliar circumstances, shrouded with uncertainty. You are only adapting to a new set of rules the hard way.
Second, focus on what you know
If you keep your focus on what you don’t know, you will continue feeling like you are losing control, and all the possible repercussions, depending on how imaginative you can get, will have a fiesta manifesting in your mind.
Make sure you know the facts from credible sources. In other words, stop reading those forwarded WhatsApp messages with tips and conspiracy theories. Don’t use social media influencers as your main source of information, either. Facts only exist with fact finders, like the World Health Organization WHO or the Center for Disease Control CDC or the serious news agencies like Bloomberg, CNN, WAYA Media or any other agency you find trustworthy and professional.
The more informed you are, the better you manage your expectations and curb your imagination of the future.
Third, respond with a healthy routine
Focus on what you know and use it to adapt to the new reality. Design and iterate your daily routine to make sure it balances your energy with your schedule. Make sure to have a lot of personal time with things you love and care about: family members, pets, and hobbies. Give time to the simple pleasures of life. For example, I find it very comforting to watch the sun rising in the early mornings. That slow and steady change of the deep night into that soft and mellow pink, yellow, and orange colors of the morning is soothing and full of positive energy. Inspire yourself with these simple pleasures of life on a daily basis.
Finally, I ask everyone to show gratitude, listen, and do simple acts of kindness. We are all in it together. It is not about you or me. It will not matter if you are rich or poor, successful, or not. The virus will not discriminate. It will infect our minds with fear before it infects our bodies with the disease. To celebrate our humanity every day with acts of kindness and humility with strangers as well as with loved ones because we are all into it as human beings. Otherwise, what are we trying to save!
Goodwill and Respect.