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10 Tips for Managing Fear in Highly Challenging Times

by Cassendre Xavier

With Coronavirus COVID-19, we are facing a global pandemic not seen for a very long time. We are worried about our very old, very sick, or very young loved ones, and we are living our usually active and social lives largely shut-in. We are even more touch deprived than ever before, and many of us are watching our funds dwindle before our eyes.
How can we manage overwhelming fear during this very difficult time?

Here are some tips that have helped me, and also that I've seen help others around me:

1) Focus on the present. Whenever you are becoming upset, worrying about a loved one with underlying conditions, or who is advanced in age, switch the focus instead to the moment before you. Look to, at, and into, the now. The present. It's really true that cliché that the present is a gift. In this case, focusing on the present can liberate you from the grasp of crippling fear. Fear leads you down a road of hopelessness, helplessness, even more worry and even more fear. Don't engage! Turn to the present. In the present you will see all your blessings. You will see health within you and around you. You will see abundance everywhere. In the now you will see that for the most part, nothing you fear is actually happening, or very little of it. The present keeps you focused on what's really happening in the moment. And for the most part, you'll be able to see that you're really worried about nothing. Focusing on the present keeps you from engaging in too many "what if's" and it resets your emotional set point much closer to what you actually want to attract. The present keeps you more positive.

2) Count your blessings. There is so much to be thankful for. If you have a full fridge, a place to lay your head at night, people who love you, and hope for tomorrow, you're rich by many standards that count. When you look around for things to be grateful for, you'll lose count.

3) See if you can help someone. Helping someone doesn't necessarily mean reaching out to an elderly neighbor, although that's a wonderful thing to do. Helping someone could be just reaching out and saying hello, via text or email, via social media - just to let them know you're thinking about that. A little encouragement can go a long way.

4) Be creative. Now is a marvelous time to dust off the watercolor brushes and paints, or mandala coloring books, pull out those knitting or crotchet needles, sing into the tape recorder, whatever you've wanted to do - now is the time. And with things like Skype and Zoom video chat and conferencing, you can do it with friends, too!

5) Build or engage with community. Social media is a beautiful place to be right now. I used to not pay too much attention to Facebook except to promote my events, fundraisers, or creative projects. But now the people connecting to do beautiful things is too gorgeous to ignore! People are talking about how they are getting through this time, and sharing stories and articles of inspiring other people doing even more wonderful things. It's amazing! I suppose in any period of great difficulty, people have come together to help one another out, and to do beautiful things. Now is a time to find out about this, and get in on the action! Share your story or commend someone on theirs!

6) Keep building hope. Whatever you're going through, someone else is going through that, or worse. As you build hope for yourself, and you share what works for you, you encourage others on their path also. Another reason to never lose hope is to help someone else. Hold on just a little bit longer, and then tell us how you did that - what thoughts you had, what helped you get through. This is the gold - this is what sustains us - sharing as we say in the recovery movement, our "experience, strength and hope." It works!

7) Practice radical acceptance. There is no way to completely turn around what has happened. There is no way to avoid what is now happening. Or rather we could, but all of those methods would be unhealthy and impermanent anyway. The only way to get through something like this is with strength and grace. And what helps us get through that is by accepting what is. It is what it is. This all is happening. It is real. People are dying. But we who are alive can do something - we can stay positive and help one another. We can apply love to every challenge and survive to live another day. We can do it!

8) Practice self-love and self-care. During this time of social distancing it's more important now than ever to take care of ourselves. Give yourself special and extra attention. Be kind to yourself. Even if you're depressed, take extra care to bathe and groom yourself - this is essential for staying healthy, especially now. Give yourself hugs and take care of your physical needs for touch, however you wish, and without guilt. Be your own best friend and lover during this time - even if you're partnered. Be good to yourself, even more now because you may be called upon, or inspired, to help your neighbor, a friend, or a family member. You will need all your reserves to get through this difficult time. We need you!

9) Love one another. We are called upon one another during times like this to be a resource of assistance for many people. We may choose to participate or not, but we are needed. There are many ways to help. Almost every professional I have spoken with on the phone today has been extra kind to me. I can hear the care in their voice. I believe that care is real - it isn't just customer service they've been trained to provide. This feels different. We are being kinder to one another, and it's a beautiful thing.
There are always opportunities to be more loving or to add love to a situation. Look out for them and start practicing little ways to show love, every day, and all around you. Love will help heal this situation and make it end more quickly.

10) Lighten up and have fun! Laughter heals so much, we're aware of this now. I personally think that when I smile or laugh I am tricking my body into thinking that everything is going well. Of course, I realize that spiritually, all *is* actually well!
During this time of worry, it's more important now than ever to get our laughs in. Don't worry, laughing isn't disrespecting the memory of those who have passed. It honors them because they wouldn't want us to be somber all the time. We are raising our vibration, and staying healthy. We are attracting more miracles - we are healing our bodies and strengthening ourselves to live through another night and face another day. We are building courage and hope!
When you can, watch funny things on TV or YouTube - whatever makes you laugh, be it comedies or stand-up, or cartoons. Maybe you’re the type of person who enjoys watching people trip and fall or do stupid things. No judgment here - watch it and laugh! Even better if you get one or more people involved in the laughter with you. Laughing will add a powerful healing element to all of your work. And, again, it's super great for your health, and don't we want to improve our health and boost our immune system especially now? Heavens yes!

Thank you for reading, and may you stay healthy and safe during this challenge. We will get through this!

Cassendre Xavier has been writing on various topics for Wisdom Magazine since 2009. She is a multi-media healing artist, whose work and calendar you can visit at https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com

Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier

“renaissance negresse”

$15,000 Leeway Transformation Award-Winning musician, writer, actress, visual artist, and community cultural arts organizer.

Founder & Executive Director of the Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003) and the Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002).

Official website: http://cassEndrExavier.wordpress.com

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