Fear Harms Immune System

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INTRODUCTION

Fear may be described as the most powerful emotion. Fear harms our immune system and can make us susceptible to many physical and mental problems. It can have a strong effect on our body and mind. Fear is very harmful to our health because it shuts down our guts. Gut is the place in our body where most of our immune system resides. When we experience fear, our body releases stress hormones that slow down, or completely shut down, our less important bodily functions. And these functions are those which we do not immediately need for survival. Fear short-circuits your brain.

That’s the fear what we have now – the fear of the coronavirus. That fear of coronavirus breeding more fears like the fear of giving up the things we like, of being forced out of our comfort zone and on and on. This is known as phobophobia i.e. fear of fears. Mainly, phobophobic individuals fear to embarrass themselves or having an anxiety attack which then starts getting interlinked with specific situations or circumstances. Thus, Phobophobia is a very self-limiting and self-replicating phobia in the sense that; the sufferer already might have one or more existing phobias but continues to fear developing more. The converse is also true like a person may not be having any established phobia but may still continue to develop a fear of getting one that may entail curtailing his/her daily activities.

The worst thing about fear is that it breeds more fear and becomes an obsession with worry that makes us crazy. And especially now when fear is all around us as well as in our hands, on our screens and imbedded deep in our social media.

Fear can be positive as well. That is what activates our bodies and minds to deal with the threats. So we instinctively swerve out of the way to avoid a collision. In that sense, fear can save our lives. Hence we need to spot the fear and then change the thought process. It is because, in spite of our love for multitasking, it is not possible to have two thoughts at the same time. It becomes a matter of training our mind in spotting the fear, then changing the thought process if the thing we’re scared of, does not cause us to act and solve a problem. The idea that we can learn and unlearn fear is a great opportunity for us to deal with fear effectively.

Fear harms our immune system by creating problems as given below :

  • Our heart beats very fast
  • We breathe fast
  • Our muscles become weak
  • We sweat a lot
  • Our stomach churns
  • We find it hard to concentrate on anything
  • We feel dizziness
  • We feel frozen on any spot
  • We can’t eat properly
  • We may have hot and cold sweats
  • We get a dry mouth
  • our muscles become very tense

These things occur because our body, sensing fear, prepares for an emergency. So it gives us the mental ability to focus on the thing that our body perceives as a threat. The persistent fear may give rise to anxiety. Anxiety is a word often used by health professionals while describing persistent fear.

The present condition of Widespread fear due to COVID-19 has created a situation where most of us are scared of it’s impact on our health and wealth. We must follow certain simple technique to overcome it. I am suggesting the following technique :

Relaxation techniques

When our body experiences fear, lots of triggers ready our body for a “fight-or-flight” action response. We must learn to override this response by counteracting with relaxation techniques. Relaxation tells our body that there is no danger and that we are safe. Also, relaxation can help you cope with other stress and anxiety in your life.

Deep breathing exercises are probably the best and the easiest. While doing it we must focus on our breath, and start counting each breath. First of all, we should try inhalation and exhalation for four seconds each. Then after some time, we should increase it to six seconds.

The other ways to get rid of it could be reducing the exposure to news and views related to coronavirus and pursuing hobbies.

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