What to do When fear approaches

Roe Chiacchio: Befriend your fears and make chicken soup

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:45am

    I picked up the phone and heard the fear in Sara’s voice. Her pitch was high and she spoke quickly. 

    “I’m not going back to work. My boss has been in contact with a nurse who tested positive for the coronavirus and who has been caring for her mother.”

    Sara’s voice wavered as she wondered out loud what she touched in her boss’s office that could be contaminated. 

    Without stopping she asked, “Should I triple my vitamins?” “Should I drink more water.” “Should I get more sleep.”

    My niece, Sara, was looking for reassurance and guidance about what to do as many of us are.

    After 20 minutes of listening and talking about the facts of this situation and self-quarantine, my last words to her were, “Why don’t you make some chicken soup today.”

    Where that thought came from, I have no idea but I knew it was a good suggestion for the situation.  Sara loved to cook and the task of preparing soup would calm her down.

    Fear was beginning to take control of her thoughts as her body reacted in a “fight or flight” response.

    The emotion of fear is important in our survival. The mind will alert us to danger to protect and remove ourselves from harm’s way. But fears that are not kept in check or are repetitive, turn into a negative risk for our health and well-being.

    Fear leads to anxiety and panic when we don’t have facts to stabilize it. 

    The hazards of misperceptions can be disastrous to oneself and others. Events can become blown out of proportion and show up in behaviors as excessive shopping and hoarding of food and supplies even though deliveries continue to arrive at grocery stores.

    Our fear-based thoughts become irrational leading to decisions made without the best intentions and outcomes.

    When fear approaches:

    1. Pause. 
    2. Get the facts. 
    3. Calm yourself (slow down your breathing, go for a walk, meditate).  
    4. Consider making chicken soup to nurture yourself.

    Preparing homemade chicken soup grounds and nourishes me. The aroma of this broth brings me back to the basics of life. 

    Chicken soup has been known for its nutritional, healing and calming properties, such as its soothing vapor for head colds, it’s antioxidant activity (vitamins and minerals) and the fact that it balances plasma volume during exercise (keeps us hydrated). This is a good time to go back to ways that can ground us.

    Other ideas are:

    • Tilling a small area of land and plant a garden. 
    • Growing seedlings inside. 
    • Pruning shrubs. 
    • Taking a walk and observe what nature provides for us.

    Once relaxed, approach your fear, befriend it and understand where it is coming from. Read up on the facts of this illness. Don’t let the emotional tone of TV news create fear. 

    Spring is here. It is a time for the birthing of new ways to live and simplify life in the midst of this pandemic.

    Ironically, today, I had a call from a friend who was in a good mood. She mentioned she had made chicken soup!

    Roe Chiacchio is a cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation RN, CPT personal trainer and CDP certified dementia practitioner. She integrates her background into a specialized style of training for each of her clients and shares her perspective and knowledge in her articles published at PenBay Pilot and NCCDP. Her business, ONWARD, Cardiovascular Health, Wellness and Dementia Management is located in Camden, Maine. Her education is based in behavioral science, psychology, neuroscience and gerontology studies.  Her interest is working to enhance physical performance and mental health of individuals through her training sessions and articles. Her hobbies are photography and international travel. Volunteer work: Hopi Nation.

    For more information, contact Roe at 207 249-8166, or roechiacchio@gmail.com