The shore of the Bay of Fundy in front of our home in Port Maitland, NS
Anxiety vs Fear
Norma and I are completing Day 10 of our 14 day Canadian Government imposed self-isolation/quarantine since we came back from Florida. For us, an important part of keeping sane, and keeping Finn, our Brittany, sane as well, are daily walks. We aren’t allowed here to go to parks or other public areas until our 14 days are up – and even then many public places are simply closed.
One of our normal walks, then, has become going from our house along the highway in front of the house (not a busy road by most places’ standards) and then down a short dirt road to the shore. The entire walk is about a kilometer and a half each way, and there is marsh grass and beach at the end which entertains Finn immensely.
The shore also has a calming effect, we find. Watching the gulls circling and the waves lapping is very soothing, and the sounds of the shore are therapeutic. The Provincial Government has closed the public beach just to our south, to avoid any crowds at the parking lot, and so we just stood on the northern edge of our property, where I got the image and took it all in.
I listened to a CBC news interview, a day or two ago, with a psychologist I know, and he reminded us of the difference between anxiety and fear. Anxiety, an apprehension of a real or imagined future threat, he said makes people withdraw and try to shy away or minimize the thing causing the anxiety. Even if there is some reason to be anxious. This kind of response leads folks to do things that aren’t really helpful. Things like withdrawal or denial or giving in to an overwhelming sense of dread.
Fear, on the other hand, is a human emotion that comes as the result of our feeling in danger. Fear is faced not by withdrawal, but by courage. Courage to confront the thing causing the fear, and a collective action to overcome it.
Instead of being anxious and listening to all the doomsday news in our home, isolated but trapped, Norma and I have decided to confront the fear, and do what we feel is a better antidote – go outside and note that there is still beauty and wonder in nature. It works for us.
And, Finn approves.