Covid fear has outlived its usefulness to the Left. No doubt climate change, Trump bringing fascism, or some other such nonsense will be resurrected. But fear itself is an issue. Dr. Marc Siegel explains.
Yes. What many of us were saying since early on to try to minimise the abject fear in people! We were called Covid deniers & conspiracy theorists.
— Denise Welch (@RealDeniseWelch) February 23, 2022
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Siegel: Several years ago I wrote about the “cycle of worry” in my book, “False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”
The term means that whatever anxiety-provoking obsessive mindset you are stuck inside, it tends to perpetuate itself, built up by lack of sleep, lack of exercise, loss of diversionary activity, increased alcohol use, etc.
It doesn’t matter – in terms of what you are feeling – whether the cycle of worry comes from excess fear of catching a virus or fear of an evolving war, as Dr. Judson Brewer, author of the important book “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said to me on Doctor Radio Reports on SiriusXm this week.
And, Dr. Brewer added, it doesn’t matter whether this anxiety is something you personally experience or something stoked by social media, although clearly voyeuristic images of a war-torn country don’t have the same power as actually being there.
Anxiety is anxiety and is bad for your health no matter where it originates. And one cycle of worry can quickly be replaced by another, in this case COVID fears are replaced by fear of war. The world is a small place on the internet and social media and too many of us plug ourselves into events in the news and feel like it is happening to us.
I agree with Dr. Brewer. The hard-wiring of the human brain, which runs through the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex and, once triggered, leads to an outpouring of stress hormones, is far more powerful than anything we can do to try to reason around it. Instead, the cure for our cycles of worry lies in more positive replacement feelings and desensitizing ourselves to our worries by “getting back on the bike’’ once we have fallen off.
This treatment is just as useful for fear of war as it is for fear of COVID. Too many people are afraid to go to restaurants or the movies even after the mask requirements have been removed, and the numbers of cases have dropped dramatically.
While I applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for shifting its focus to community prevalence and hospital capacity rather than case positivity rates, I think it took them far too long to get there. Overloaded hospitals interfere with health care delivery of all kinds, beyond just COVID.
The new message of liberation from excess masking and mandates is welcome but overdue. Vaccines and boosters should always have been recommended as a way to be liberated from severe COVID risk rather than as something forced. As a society, we have worn the yoke of COVID fear for too long, and it has scarred us.