Let’s talk about fear. There is plenty of fear floating around in our society, as coronavirus continues to linger. Here is the interesting thing - when you are in a state of fear, you are using your primitive brain, composed of the amygdala and hypothalamus, which are located in the central part of your brain. This is one of the first areas to develop in utero, and is responsible for basic emotional responses, fear being one of them. Fear is a signal of danger, threat, or motivational conflict. Decisions made when scared are based almost purely off of emotion and not much logic. Logical, rational decision making is the job of your prefrontal cortex, located in the front of your brain. This area develops over the years as we grow and mature, and is fully developed by the age of 26.
Even the most calm, non-anxious person can’t help but feel the collective fear that has swept our world in the last few months. It can be easy to get caught up in the hysteria that our news media reports every day. A person who is afraid has a different physiological response than a person who is not afraid. When we are using our primitive instincts, we tend to be in a state of fight or flight. Heart rate is elevated, blood pressure is up, digestion slows down, sleep isn’t as restful, cognitive function may feel difficult. Basically your body is ready to fight or run from the bear in the room. This is fine, when you are in the presence of a bear (or other threat), but to be in this state constantly actually will wreak havoc on your body. Prolonged states of stress have detrimental health effects, on your cardiovascular system, your digestive system, your cognition, your mental health, your immune system - basically every system in your body.
So, if during a time when a virus has been spreading, and you are in a state of fear, your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised. In our office we talk about health as being physical, mental, and chemical. As a society, we tend to downplay the effects of our thoughts on our health. But it absolutely affects our health. I encourage you to be mindful of what news you are consuming on a daily basis and the topics of conversations you are having. Being aware of what is going on in the world is one thing, but being afraid will negatively affect your health. If you are struggling with fear and anxiety, please reach out. We have compiled together resources for our clients. We are here to help and empower you on your health journey!
In Health and Wellness,