Reality is often stranger than fiction. The timeline of current events is like living in a disaster movie. What is the smart thing to do?
Every disaster film starts with leadership denying and ignoring the warnings of scientists. A disaster flick always has a narcissistic evil villain. The villain is a crazy con-man who wants to rule the world. He inherits but squanders a family fortune, so he looks for a way to use his con-man skills to regain his riches.
As the story continues, the sociopath takes control of the government through a series of underhanded and illegal means. He has a group of powerful, brainwashed acolytes. They want him in power because they think he will make them rich. Sound familiar?
Are You Living in a Disaster Movie?
Once in power, the villain and his band of thieves close government programs and siphon off funds. Of course, one program he closes is actually the safety net that would have avoided the crisis. However, people’s lives don’t matter. All that matters is money and power. He fans the flames of the hate groups. This distracts people from catching onto his schemes. He makes outlandish promises that resonate with their own racist fears and economic plight.
As the crisis progresses, the villain and his cronies continue to deny scientists’ warnings. It doesn’t matter why? It could be out of ignorance, negligence, or just spite. This makes the crisis worse, but they push on with their agenda to steal as much cash as possible.
This sets the stage for the world-wide calamity, but a superhero intervenes. The villain loses his powerful leadership role. So, the con-man wants to cause as much chaos and confusion as possible so he and his cronies can escape prosecution.
If the above scenario seems familiar, you are like many who think we live in a disaster movie. Reality mirrors fiction. Those who survive in the movies have some things in common. First, understand how to handle fear, keep them from following the herd. Second, they model the basic lessons of childhood. Are you with me so far?
Understand And Control Your Fear
How do you understand and control fear? The key is understanding what’s going on in our minds. Fear distorts rational thinking. It makes us react like lemmings running over a cliff. That’s why people hoard. That’s why people pick a scapegoat to project their anger about the situation.
A crisis of any kind triggers our primitive mind, our fight, flight, or freeze reaction. This is the part of our brain that we share with almost all living creatures. We don’t think about it. It is a natural reaction. For example, we hear an unexpected noise, and we jump or freeze. We don’t think about it. It just happens. You must learn about your own fears and confront them. Are you caught up in this type of fear mentality? You can change it. Let’s show you how to do it. There are some common-sense steps you can follow to do this.
1. Acknowledge Your Fear
The first thing you need to do is admit you are afraid. Once you do this, then you can think about how to handle it. This will help you from acting out of fear. That’s because fear easily turns into anger.
Fear triggers your fight, flight, or freeze reaction. The Sympathetic Nervous (SN) system automatically takes charge when we are fearful or in danger. This is a default setting of the nervous system. This is a natural part of our primitive monkey brain. The SN system increases blood flow to muscles by shutting down blood flow to the skin and intestines.
The brain responds to the increased adrenalin and a host of other powerful enzymes by shutting off the brain’s higher thinking centers. That’s the problem. With the SN in control, you might be stronger and able to move quickly, but it’s reactionary. You lose your ability to use the higher thinking center.
So acknowledge the fear, but don’t give into it. Yes, it is a scary situation, but resolve not to act in a fearful, selfish, self-serving way. When you are fearful, say to yourself, “I will not give in to fear, I will follow common-sense advice, preserve and protect the interests of the weakest.” To survive living in a disaster movie requires emotional equilibrium to make cogent decisions.
Fear upsets this balance. Acknowledge what is going on. Take practical steps to handle your fear. We’ll talk about this in a moment.
2. Don’t Get Sidetracked
Don’t get sidetracked and end up engaging in activities that flaunt the danger. Don’t put yourself at risk and ask others to do the same. This reinforces their denial of fear and puts everyone at risk.
Stay clear of people who refute the epidemiologists and scientists. Watch out for people who prefer political or religious pundits’ advice. Don’t get caught up in conspiracy theories. Follow only legitimate sources of information. Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked.
Make sure you don’t skew your thinking with conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated allegations. Don’t get caught up repeating lies. These are often tactics used to create division and attack those trying to take back control from the power-crazed lunatics. Misinformation is a tactic to suppress legitimate people and concerns.
3. Follow Qualified Experts
Follow the advice of health experts (1). If you see others providing conflicting advice, don’t follow them. Situations in a crisis can change rapidly. Be prudent in your actions. Resist fear. Do what the experts recommend, like wearing a mask, practice safe distancing, and when it’s your turn, get vaccinated.
Stories of those who survived past crises tell us that those who stay calm and think about the long-term implications do better in the long run. Remember, the little old lady you met at the grocery store and took the eggs out of her cart? Well, she will remember you. And everyone else who observed you will remember you too. In fact, your actions may be preserved on surveillance video.
Model Basic Childhood Lessons
There are three great lessons we hope you learned as a child. First, learn to share. Learn to be kind to yourself, everyone, and everything. Second, if something bad happens, speak up. Take the right action when you know the right thing to do. Are you committed to doing these things? If so, you stand a good chance of being a survivor.
We see what happens when people don’t learn these lessons; they become selfish and greedy.
1. Share, Help, and Be Kind
Be the person who helps those who can’t help themselves. This is the time to assist others. You may need help someday yourself, so sow some seeds to help others when you can.
Crisis and pandemic situations can also bring out the best parts of humanity. Be a conduit of kindness and compassion instead of fear. Others will see your example, and they will remember you were the one who gave up your eggs when your neighbor took them out of her cart.
Be a kind person. This is one way to reverse the fear. When you act with kindness, it also shows the contrast between the virtues of the spirit and those who act with bias and prejudice.
It’s important to remember that fear causes stress. Stress causes several health issues. So, use techniques to cope and manage your stress throughout the crisis. Your overall health and well depend upon your ability to think clearly and make the right choices.
Practice self-care. Learn to manage your stress. Don’t allow yourself to live in a state of continual fear. One of the best ways to control stress is mindfulness meditation. It only takes a few minutes to pause the allow yourself to regain emotional equilibrium. There are several other self-care ideas that you can use. The point is, take a proactive approach to manage stress.
2. Speak Up, Do What is Right
If you observe injustice, speak up. Silence only empowers injustice. Voting and being involved with positive social change are ways we can speak up. Allow karma to do its work. Don’t be like those who allowed a dictator like Hitler to take and maintain power because they didn’t want to offend others by speaking up.
Hero’s living in a disaster movie always confront others about their inaction. Hero’s always and stands up against injustice. Take action when and where it is safe. Remember, those still following the deranged leader are often prone to violence.
To survive a crisis, you must learn to manage your stress. Follow the prudent path. Listen to the scientists. Any life-threatening crisis puts things in perspective. We should realize that we are one people on one planet. We need to learn to care for each other and the environment. Otherwise, we will suffer the consequences. We need to speak up and do the right thing.
Most disaster movies have a happy ending. Some hero helps to avert the crisis. The villain and his henchmen are imprisoned or killed, or some combination thereof. Our real-world disaster may not have such a happy ending. Too many people have already died because of the incompetence of dismantling the pandemic team and ignoring scientists. And there are still a lot of villains who cling to power.
Acknowledge the fear, but don’t be ruled by it. Don’t get sidetracked. Follow the advice of those qualified to give it.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (2). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
(1) World Health Organization, who.int, Centers for Disease Control, cdc.org
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia