In the past two to three weeks, several of my clients have presented with a newfound COVID related fear. That their fear will never end and neither will COVID.
Most of these clients are younger and in very good health. Many of them have been fully vaccinated. Yet, their fears linger and increase with each watched news report or online article read that includes increasing warnings about variants and the efficacy of vaccines.
Here, where we live, cases have only very minimally increased with hardly any deaths and very minimal hospitalizations. About 48 percent of people are fully vaccinated here. The state is fully open with no mask mandates and very few restrictions.
There is mixed reporting on what part of the population is getting COVID now as our news outlets here only report once a week on COVID statistics at all because it is so low here. There is mixed reporting from healthcare related sources that more people who are fully vaccinated are getting COVID and that they are still older and with higher risk issues, while other sources say it is people with either one dose of vaccine or no vaccine. Regardless, few of them are going into the hospital.
These clients who are fearful spend little time on what is known and most of their thoughts are spent in the unknown where fear resides strongest. Their fears are strengthened by what might happen, who might get sick, how the vaccines might or might not work.
I try to encourage my clients to avoid the news and social media as well as falling into the rabbit hole of online speculative articles. These things do nothing to help reduce fear and in fact are like gasoline to a fire.
Much like other grounding exercises it is important to stay with what one knows for themselves and in their experiences. Are they vaccinated, how long have they been vaccinated, have they gotten sick, what about their friends and family? What is the truth of their own world? These are things that are known and repeatedly investing thoughts and words in these things can reduce fear.
Many clients wonder how long all of this will go on. How many variants will there be? Do the vaccines work well enough? It seems to go on and on with new things being reported daily.
Unfortunately, there is no answer to this question, which makes it even harder to confront. There is no known answer to this question. This then becomes a point of acceptance – that we do not know and we have to accept that truth.
One thing we can know is that no situation lasts forever. Everything changes. It will not always be this way.
“Fear that doesn’t end needs fuel to keep it going. Be mindful of your fuel. Be mindful of what you say to yourself. Be mindful of your thoughts. This is what keeps the fear in check and does not allow it to run over your life”Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh