The Balance of Fear

Coronavirus, the topic is everywhere, and with good reason.    We check the news, wash our hands, purchase our sanitizer and hope that it doesn’t visit us or anyone we love.  The other day I was at the hair salon, the perfect place to hear opinion on a wide range of topics!  Of course, coronavirus came up.  Conversation around upcoming travel and whether it should be cancelled was on the top of the list.  It made me think about how difficult it is to find the balance between paralyzing fear and cautious discernment.

When are we ‘over-reacting’ and when are we being cautiously aware of the danger in front of us?  I leaned to the side of cautious discernment. Others leaned toward the idea of over-reacting.  I don’t believe there is any right or wrong here. Everyone is doing what they believe is the safest for their situation.  However,  we are now in a place where we also have to think about what the safest situation for the whole of humanity is.  Are we being cognizant of our survival?  Or are we taking our survival for granted?

There is a lot of information written about our survival instinct, that part of our brain that reacts when threatened.  I would speculate that our survival instinct is also the part of us that judges or discerns when a situation could be threatening.  And there is equally a lot of information out there on how to overcome the fear we feel when the survival instinct kicks in out of a perceived threat, when in reality we are not in survival.

What happens though, when the possibility of being ‘in survival ‘is being questioned?  With COVID-19, are we in survival? Or is that a perspective because of the level and pace of information being disseminated?  Do we have the opportunity to stop an epidemic because of the level and pace of information out there?  In that scenario, are we really in survival?  Humanity has survived wars, epidemics, acts of God (weather), and we still go on…….

Fear is not our enemy.  Fear serves our survival and our ability to continue.  However when it becomes paralyzing, fear can keep us from coming up with creative, innovative solutions.  Hence the title of this writing; The balance in Fear.  How do you personally find balance in your fears?  If we are alive, we have them.  If you are reading this, I would enjoy hearing your answer to this question.

Personally, one of the questions I ask myself in fear situations is, “Am I doing what I can, within my control, to protect myself, keep myself safe, and maintain awareness of my environment?” (Environment meaning internal, such as emotionally, spiritually, mentally as well as external) The key is, ‘within my control.’  And now, because of the coronavirus, my scope has widened to those around me, in my community, in my world-am I doing what I can within my control to support the safest situation for all?

In this time of uncertainty, and as a Life Coach, I’ve come to understand the value of offering space for people to process through their thoughts and feelings about coronavirus.  I’ve heard the extremes of ‘this is complete hysteria and nonsense’ to ‘this may be the end of us.’  Somewhere in between these perspectives is a balance point.

We are a brilliant species and will find our way through this crisis as we have so many others.  The balance may be found through acknowledging what is here, being aware of our own ability to navigate the situation and respecting the needs and concerns of others.  We will get through coronavirus and we will learn much from this experience and we will go on!


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