Holistic Ways to Cope With Fear

Fight-or-Flight

Unknowns for our culture and our Planet comes with an abundance of fears and panic. With COVID-19 spreading throughout the country at a rapid rate, it is understandable that there would now be a lot of fear driven behaviors. I am constantly hearing “stay calm” and “don’t panic.” However, for so many people without direction, clarity, or even true rational discussion it is challenging not to immediately dive into fight-or- flight response. Adding to that, widespread financial insecurity, millions of under insured Americans, and an America where economic inequality has risen to historic levels. Yes, of course you are going to f*cking panic!

Water Element (TCM) + Adrenal Fatigue

What’s important to understand is the body can only go into “fear” mode for so long. Eventually that fear kicks into adrenaline. Adrenaline then surges throughout our bodies and sends our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) into high gear. Unfortunately, after the body enters into the ANS dominant gear known as fight-or-flight, it begins to tap into resources that will eventually deplete the entire system. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the emotion fear relates to the Water Element. Going on step further, the organs related to the Water Element, are the Kidney’s. Which leads me to where the adrenals reside; right on top of the Kidney’s. Since the adrenals sit on top of the Kidney’s, once fears settle in, the Water Element naturally begins to deplete.

Frozen With Fear

I understand, sometimes diverting into fight-or-flight is unavoidable. Of course, nobody wants to be stressed the f*ck out. However, during stressful situations it can be the only way the body knows how to adapt. Unfortunately, once the adrenals start to deplete, our bodies start to enter into adrenal exhaustion. That is when our immune systems and endocrine systems don’t function as they should. The best way I can describe it is to think of how your body seizes up, the moment you get deep into the freezing water of the Atlantic Ocean. Then, think of a frozen ice cube. Once our bodies dip into that adrenal fatigue, our bodies become “frozen” by the fear. Unable to move forward, and unable to function, as our extremely intelligent bodies should.

Foods to Calm Your Fears

If you fear you are already starting to dip into your adrenals, please don’t panic more. Know, there are indeed ways to nourish your body to ease those fears. Let’s start with foods. Since we need to nourish your Water Element, eat foods found in the ocean! Fishes, seaweed, and seasoning with sea salt when possible (of course in moderation). These are all excellent and easy ways to nourish the adrenal energy. Perhaps add in kidney beans to your salad or soups? Fun fact, acupuncturists believe kidney beans and bone broth directly nourish the Kidneys. Another option, is to add in root vegetables whenever possible. Root vegetables or anything that grows close to the ground are naturally Yin in nature, so they are an excellent choice when you are needing to nourish the most Yin Element; Water!

Yin Movement for Calm

Besides foods, doing gentle or Yin exercises will also help nourish your depleting adrenal energy. Yin energy is about going inward and being introspective. So be like a bear in hibernation, and take the time to do some Yin yoga, take quiet walks, or develop a daily mediation practice. While I understand running away from your fears (figuratively), power lifting, or punching a bag might seem like a more appropriate form of release right now. It’s important to understand your body has already released too much (adrenaline). You needn’t release anything more. Go within and start to build up on that supply again.

Calming Essential Oils

Lastly, adding in a dose of magnesium into your daily routine or some sort of adrenal fatigue supplement will help sooth those fears. As your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) begins to come back down, your fears will also begin to calm down as well. If you love essential oils, try rubbing some oils over your low back/tailbone. When calming a patient out of fight-or-flight I always turn to those thick sap like essential oils. Think vetiver, cedarwood, or even frankincense. The thicker the oil, the closer it grows to the root of the tree/plant. The closer to the root…the more Yin! Rub any of those oils over your tailbone, your low back, even on the bottom of your feet for a little extra grounding.

Connect Back to Mother Earth

What’s important is to reintroduce our nervous systems (and Spirit) back to Mother Earth. When we panic or get scared, our Spirit tends to flea as a coping mechanism.Nourishing our bodies with rich foods provided by Mother Earth, introducing slow Yin movements into our daily routines, and using the potent properties Mother Earth provides through essential oils will help bring the Spirit back into a calm space. During these unsettling times, it’s important to do whatever you need to do to find calm. Remember, a calmed nervous system keeps all the other bodily systems functioning as they should. A calmed nervous system, is a healthy body. Be kind to yourself and be kind to one another.

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