The Experience of Fear and How to Cope with It
Last week, WBUR’s Cognoscenti published my Op-Ed about the experience of fear and how to cope with it, called Managing Fear in an Unsafe World.
I discuss the physiology of fear and coping strategies to help manage the anxiety and fear many of us now experience on a regular basis in light of escalating gun violence and terrorism in our country.
The idea came to me when I was listening to a panel discussion about the experience of refugees fleeing their countries as they faced life-threatening violence. As I listened, I also felt unsafe, wondering if a terrorist would start shooting at the crowd after I heard that the FBI had concerns about this particular event.
Op-Eds are short, and a part of the piece about empathy was edited out. As I listened to the stories that evening, I recognized the parallels—I was experiencing a sliver of what many refugees and immigrants and so many feel regularly—and for that I was grateful. This kind of understanding of another’s experience is a source of empathy, something we could all use a good dose of right now.
Empathy can motivate us to take action in spite of our fear. But having tools to cope with our fear is equally important. I hope this Op-Ed might help in some small way. You can read it here.