Dr. C here.
I had a fun talk with Dr. Tom Moorcroft yesterday. Of course, we covered COVID-19 in good detail. Tom has had a focus on infectious disease for a few decades and had some good insights to share. After the talk, a question that came in was how do I seem to be so calm all the time. The person asking the question was struggling with anxiety which she is finding to be much worse in the current crisis.
I’m not always calm. I don’t consider myself a gold medalist in emotional management. I do think I am good at acting on emotions when they are needed and acting despite emotions when they are not needed.
Anxiety, stress, edginess – let’s collectively think of them as fear. They are a group of emotions that are in response to anticipated danger. They are future-oriented unlike depression, regret, sadness, and shame which are more past-oriented. As such, fear is a gift. Fear keeps us alive in moments of crisis.
There are times in which the anticipated danger is imminent and warrants immediate action. These times are rare in modern life. But they can happen.
What is the best response to fear? First, identify if it is a new fear or an old one. If new, does it warrant a response of some sort? If so what is it? Think through that response and do it.
If it is an old fear, do you have a response in place? If not, create one. If so, evaluate your existing response. Is it adequate? If so, there is nothing to change. If not, adapt your response so it is adequate.
You can imagine it like this flow chart:
Do you have a response in place for your current situation? It may help to write it down. Often doing so gives you more peace of mind than you would have than if you just have it in your head. Also when you put an idea into words, you may find it is not as clear or as well thought out as it seemed when it was in your head.
Please write down your current response to COVID-19. You may wish to talk it through with your isolation mates as you write it. Once it is done and agreed on, put a start date and a date to revise and post it on the refrigerator.
Here is mine as an example.
1. COVID-19 Plans Christianson family 3/13/20 – 3/31/20.
2. Our isolation circle consists of Ryan, Kirin, and Alan.
3. Avoid all physical contact with people outside this circle.
4. Any other contact will be at a minimum distance of 6 feet.
5. Any surfaces that may have been contacted by those outside our circle will
be avoided for a minimum timeframe per the material or sterilized with
6. Busy outdoor areas will be avoided if they will make 6 foot distancing a
challenge. If an area becomes challenging after entering, we will leave it.
7. Any abnormal symptoms are to be shared with Alan.
8. Every day we must do at least one fun thing.
The advantage of having a clearly articulated solution is that it shortens the duration of time spent questioning your response. Yes, you have one. Yes, it is adequate, you wrote it out and posted it.
The point at which fear is not a gift is when you no longer need to act on it. In modern life, 95-99% of our time spent in fear is not helpful. Either we are already doing enough about it, or there is nothing more we can do. In neither case does fear improve on our circumstances.
The goal is not to banish fear. That will not happen. The goal is to have a millimeter of space between fear and our daily experience. Having a process can help you realize that fear can go on while you do your thing. It does not need to escalate, it does not always need to be paid attention to.
Once you can move despite it, the next thought is what should you focus your mind on. That is an important question. If there is a gift of our circumstances, it is that we are forced to revisit our values. What does matter?
Maybe you already know what is important. Now is a good time to give that your full attention. Maybe you are not clear about what is important. Now is a great time to get clarity.
To your best health,
Today’s recipe: Shredded Chicken for a Week’s Worth of Meals
Wednesdays’s recipe: Egg (White) Drop Soup
Monday’s recipe: Fast and Easy Chili
Sunday’s recipe: Easy Recipe Soba Tea
Friday’s recipe: Lamb and Carrot Stew
Thursday’s recipe: Better Than “Cream of Mushroom” Chicken & Rice
Wednesday’s recipe: Peas and Meat – Irish Comfort Food
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.