Using mindfulness to cope with fear of the unknown

The new normal
Many of us maybe wondering what is around the corner. I am sure we are feeling the effects of the great changes brought about by COVID-19 over the last four months. Our new way of life seems to be queues outside shops, face coverings on public transport and social distancing. It is hard to imagine life will get back to the ‘normal’ we knew before lockdown.

Fear of the unknown

… is very anxiety provoking. Our own worlds have changed beyond recognition, let alone the wider world! As someone who has suffered with anxiety, I know too well how crippling fear can be. Fear can make us fall into ‘fight or flight’ – a physiological reaction brought on by what we perceive as frightening or threatening situations. We either become revved up for a fight or want to escape from this perceived danger.

How can mindfulness help?
Mindfulness taught me that thoughts are just thoughts not real events. As Vidyamala Burch wrote in her book Mindfulness for Health: ‘They [thoughts] are passing mental events. They might accurately reflect the world and your suffering – but they might not. Thinking is often important, and thoughts are valuable, but not always’. In other words, thoughts are not YOU or REALITY. Thinking of others is one way to take us away from our own thoughts and troubles.

Be kind to others
In their new campaign launched on 6th July, the RNIB asks us to be kind. #WorldUpsideDown highlights the challenges many blind and partially sighted people are experiencing while trying to social distance. They ask us ‘to be aware, be kind and offer help if you can’.

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