Let's Talk About Fear

Jun 16, 01:31 AM

As I write this post, there is a light drizzle outside. Less than 2 hours ago, the Dallas/Fort Worth area was under a severe thunderstorm watch. Radio, television and internet reports told us to expect thunderstorms, high winds, possible hail, and possible (very slightly possible) tornadoes. Although this is very typical weather during tornado season (and believe me, in my 30+ years in Dallas I've experienced much worse) the announcements caused widespread panic. Schools all over the area were let out early. People ran out to grocery stores to stock up on emergency supplies, then posted about it on social media. Members of my book club engaged in a flurry of e-mails about cancelling our 7pm dinner due to "the danger." Everyone's common sense went out the window.

Obviously, people are edgy about the recent spate of tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma. But it goes further than that. Not too long ago, a serial rapist was active in a neighborhood adjacent to the one where I live. He attacked adult women who were alone in their residences in an affluent, low-crime area. As soon as he committed his third rape, the news spread like wildfire. It was a couple weeks after the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, and police responded by immediately putting all schools in the vicinity on lockdown. Few people questioned this bizarre allocation of law enforcement resources. They were simply glad that the police were insuring the safety of their children from a rapist who was not known to attack children or adult women in the workplace.

We live in a world where we are bombarded by instant media coverage of mayhem, murder and natural disasters, and most of us are all too happy to blindly tune into that coverage like an addiction. Why are an increasing number of people choosing to become addicted to fear? Are you one of the many choosing to act out in a lemming-like panic?

Fear is a choice, and that choice is seldom the right one, unless you are truly in imminent danger. Turn off the TV, unless you hear tornado sirens howling right around the corner. If you are becoming overwhelmed by sensational news coverage, go on periodic news or social media fasts to gain some perspective. Don't let irrational fears dictate your actions or rule your life.

Can aromatherapy help assuage fear? Sometimes, yes. Essential oils interact quickly with the limbic system, an area of the brain where we store emotional and psychological responses to external stimuli. The next time you feel overwhelmed by fearful emotions, a deep inhalation of one of these essential oils may be helpful:

Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) - fear of threatening situations, safety, survival
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) - fear of separation
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) - fear of addictive or repetitive negative behaviors
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) - fear of terrifying situations, death, the future
Juniper (Juniperus communis) - fear of taking on others' negative emotions
Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) - fear of the unknown
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) - deeply hidden fears, fear of loss
Rose (Rosa damascena or Rosa centifolia) - fear of terrifying situations
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) - difficulty releasing fear


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