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Coping with “Fear of the Unknown” and How to Overcome It

Fear of the unknown can cause significant anxiety for many people. This condition can create or exacerbate mental health issues, leading individuals to fear what they do not have answers to. Essentially it is the fear of anything that is beyond their comfort zone.

The long-running pandemic of COVID-19 has been hard for people. From money issues and isolation to social conflict and identity politics, society is facing an unprecedented rush on the mental health system from overstressed individuals who often feel alone in their struggles.

When we choose to live with our fear of the unknown the choices and decisions we make do not serve us well. Any decision we make based on this fear will not be a decision that will move us forward in life.

You have come face to face with your fear of the unknown, not ignore it. To be able to conquer your fear of the unknown, you have to be committed to making the changes within yourself and that is where it gets tough.

 Attempting to deal with the mental strain of the pandemic and other stressful situations where you are unsure of how things will turn out can seem overwhelming.

How to Overcome Fear of The Unknown

First things first — it is perfectly okay to feel anxious about the pandemic, and more. Being aware of our fears during a real event is normal and natural. Not being nervous may imply avoidance or denial. The COVID-19 virus is a real threat to life and our livelihood.

Anxiety is a natural part of our body’s alarm system. So, it is important to be aware of it, as well as to not let it control our decisions and actions. There is a simple way to help yourself feel less anxious — it is about choosing to perceive the situation more realistically and concretely.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides a clear path for each of us to challenge our fears by addressing what we specifically believe. This is called “disputing.” We only need to adjust our beliefs that are causing us to feel really anxious, then we will feel and act differently.

Cycle Chart - Maison Vie New Orleans Therapy and Counseling - Dealing with Fear of the Unknown
Watch the video below this article to further understand how this diagram plays out in real life.

Some people have a difficult time with this important step. When our anxiety is so high that we are not sleeping well, for example, it might be important to seek professional help with identifying the realistic and concrete statement needed to effectively dispute your current anxiety-making belief.
 
Fear of the unknown is a natural tendency of all humans. When we are unfamiliar with something or feel like we do not have control over a situation our minds go into overdrive to try to make sense of what’s happening. When it can’t find anything to relate to it puts us in a state of panic that causes our adrenaline to skyrocket, hearts to beat faster, and lungs to breathe quicker. What you do with that panic is key.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”

Remember, in any situation, it is critically important to stay as calm as possible. Go to a quiet, peaceful location if possible, close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and reapproach with a relaxed mind. This puts you in a position of power that allows you to actively analyze the situation more clearly.

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