The human experience of fear is a continuum. At one end is paralysis while at the other there is panic; One is underactivity, the other is overactivity. We tend to experience the extremes when we have an unfriendly relationship with fear. If we try to fight it, fear can take over, one way or the other.
We can see examples of this in the current social crisis. Some people have under-reacted by saying that there’s nothing to be afraid of while others have overreacted and are acting and thinking like it’s the plague.
But just because we shouldn’t overreact or under-react doesn’t mean we shouldn’t react. When we react, what should that reaction be based upon? Most people would agree that the answer is science. Rational, evidence-based decisions can steer us in the right direction when forming public health policy. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
It turns out that human behaviour is governed by emotion, not by logic. Whether we’re talking about one person or a group of people, emotion lies behind each and every decision we make no matter how well intentioned we are to make logic-based decisions.
We have seen many examples of this as well. The WHO has changed its tune several times in regards to wearing face masks. The CDC has also flip-flopped a number of times. And there has been a great deal of non-sensical policies and mandates, creating confusion and mis-direction.
So what do we do when we don’t know what to do?
Whenever we feel uncertainty, as individuals or as a collective, we feel fear. And if we can make friends with fear (see two articles ago) we open ourselves up to a number of resources:
- Vulnerability and Humility
- The power of multiple perspectives
Intuition is the highly sophisticated ability of the body/mind to compile complex information (emotion, feelings, sensations) at tremendously faster speeds than we could ever do just by thinking. It’s like the difference between counting with your fingers and counting with a state-of-the-art computer. Using our intuition gives us the ability to jump ahead and adapt more quickly and to know things without knowing why.
Being able to feel vulnerable and humble helps to ground us and take out the ill-effects of hubris and an over-inflated ego. It helps us to face a situation as it is, not as we wish it would be.
Having the ability to see a situation from more than one perspective at the same time, allows us to move through obstacles to find holistic solutions. Our approach with Neuro-Structural care is a good example of this. Rather than focusing solely on the symptom and trying to find the one cause, we zoom out and focus on the whole person so that we can see how the symptom fits into the bigger picture. A one perspective solution usually tends to lead to band-aid solutions and more problems down the road.
When people come to the office, they are experiencing a level of uncertainty and are looking for guidance and we take this responsibility very seriously. We also recognize the trust patients put in us and we don’t take that lightly either.
As long as there is uncertainty, fear is an inevitable part of life. In life we can try to insulate ourselves in bubbles of physical, emotional, and mental safety and comfort. Just as long as we realize that we’re giving up the very things that make life worth living.