Addiction to fear is causing more suffering than the Coronavirus (CV19).
The treatment industry defines addiction as repeatedly doing the same thing in spite of negative consequences. There are 35 million heart, lung, cancer, and diabetes II, world-wide deaths per year directly resulting from repeated abuse of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sugar, and bad fats. Ironically, these are the very people who are at the highest risk of dying from the Coronavirus.
With increased isolation and non-stop, crisis-filled news cycles, the majority of our population is living in a self-imposed fear frenzy despite the suffering and long-term negative consequences. Boredom has set in, and the need to fill the void intensifies. Fear creates chemical releases in the body that mask the void. It´s at the root of most addictions.
Fear is a natural, built-in emotion that warns us to respond to impending danger — much different than self-imposed imaginary fears of the unknown. Some people get so ignited by the sensation; they become addicted and don’t even realize it. The internal uneasiness creates the need for sedation.
Staying glued to bad (instead of good) news, herding to the grocery store, and obsessing about contracting the illness, are several ways people exacerbate their addiction to fear. The higher the anxiety, the greater the need to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, smoking, bad food, on-line gambling, and porn — the list is endless. Fear-based decisions are rarely right. Just this week, news stations report a significant increase in food and alcohol purchases, yet also tells us most deaths are those who are diabetic, obese, and have significant health issues.
There’s plenty we can do to keep ourselves in a peaceful state of mind in spite of the real external challenges. First, we can follow the safety suggestions; handwashing, cleanliness, and social distancing. But more importantly, we can learn to choose love instead of fear. We can distance ourselves from bad news and move emotionally closer to our families. Preparing healthy meals together, playing games, exercising, reading, watching comedies, and engaging in old-fashioned conversations can provide opportunities for much-needed bonding.
We can take this unique historical experience to get sick or get healthier. We can choose between a destructive behavior or an act of self-love. Our mind has two channels: one with negative thoughts that fuel the flames of fear, and another with positive thoughts that make us feel peaceful. We don’t have control of outside circumstances, but we do have control over which channel we listen to and what we do with our time. The choice is ours to make: fearful or peaceful. One makes us weak, the other makes us strong. One taxes and weakens our immune system, the other doesn’t. It´s up to us.
About the Author — Dr. Donna Marks believes that the current models for diagnosis, treatment, and addiction have failed. Her mission is to help save at least 10 million lives by 2030, through education and prevention. She has been an author, consultant, educator, public speaker, licensed psychotherapist, instructor of A Course in Miracles, and addictions counselor in private practice in Palm Beach, Florida, for more than thirty years.