The Rise of Fear

Are we addicted to fear? Watching the events in Ukraine unfold over the last few weeks is terrifying.  At times, watching the news is like watching a horror film.  I cover my eyes, but I can’t help peeking through my fingers to see what will happen next.  Too scared to watch but at the same time unable to tear myself away as the story develops, getting more and more horrific as it goes.  

The adrenalin rush of watching a horror film is addictive.  We quickly become desensitized to the violence, but we are quickly served more terrible scenes to get our rush. The line between the news and entertainment is now so blurred, that it is easy to question whether what we see on the TV is actual reality. Which of course it is, but try telling that to the human brain that is so easily excited and not too long ago was living in a forest. It has little time to evolve.

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Disconnecting from Reality

The adrenalin rush of a scary ride or a horror film has replaced the very real threat of being eaten by sabretooth tiger.  It can be addictive for some people, the scarier the better because that means a bigger and better rush without actually being harmed.  Fear sells, and news outlets know this, that’s why the coverage of the COVID pandemic has been all consuming over the last few years.  Now we’re on to the next big scary thing, the diabolical Putin and his twitchy finger hovering over the big red nuke button.  

The news is ultimately just another source of entertainment, and the makers of news programmes are well aware of how easily we become numb to stories. BBC, Aljazerra, CNN, whoever your dealer is, are ultimately only concerned with viewing rates and profit, so they are quick to show us new horrors if they think they can get away with it. It is a bizarre feeling watching TV and seeing corpses laying on the pavement somewhere in Ukraine, and then simply carrying on with our day.   Ukraine is a country that looks like any other in Western Europe, where the people look just like us, but far enough away that we can disconnect by simply turning off the tv.  

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Fear affects the Kidneys

In Chinese medicine, fear is the emotion associated with the Kidneys, and water is the element. Too much fear depletes the Kidneys, whereas weak Kidneys can make one more prone to being fearful. The Kidneys are great examples of the balance between yin and yang within us. Yin is cool and stillness, whereas yang is heat and action. To exist healthily we need a balance of the two, and problems occur when there is too much of one and not enough of the other. In addition, they are the most Yin of all the internal organs and so are considered to be the deepest part of the body. And like the deepest part of the planet, the ocean, they carry much mystery and perhaps fear. And for good reason, the deepest parts of the ocean are scary places.   

Fear is not a ‘negative’ emotion, but it is one of our most primary and necessary emotions because it allows us to survive.   However,  adrenalin and fear also lead to the Kidney Qi becoming depleted. From an energy point of view, fear moves Qi, but more specifically, it causes it to descend, which is why fear can cause the bladder to evacuate.

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God sitting in a Kidney

War and conflict, violence and the suffering of innocent people occurs every day, all over the world, on every continent.  But now the media has turned its spotlight on a part of the world that looks just a little too close to home.  And the news people aren’t stupid, news is entertainment and a commodity – they want us to watch, so they make it as compelling and therefore difficult to just switch it off because we might miss something.  Like a good horror film that you don’t want to watch but you just can’t tear yourself away.  Ok, so you don’t like horror, you are more into romance.  For you they have something very special, a couple getting married in war-torn city, or the humanitarian effort to save millions of refugees, each of whom have a terrible story.  The news makers now even add emotive music, so it is even more like watching a film.

Be the best person you can be

In my clinic, during the COVID pandemic, and certainly over the last few weeks, I’m seeing lots of people suffering with anxiety.  A feeling that terrifying, terrible things are going to happen to us and our families. But more essentially, things that we have no control over.  And I’m feeling it myself, those old fears of nuclear war being dredged up, implanted in my psyche since my childhood in the 70’s and 80’s.  

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As individuals we cannot control what is happening in the Ukraine, nor anywhere else for that matter.  Not in an immediate way anyway, we leave that to the officials we have elected to act on our behalf. But what we can control is our own individual actions.  By being the best person you can be and affecting your direct environment and the people around you.  Be kind, be loving and generous to those close to you. Create a ripple effect, and the next person will be kinder and more loving, and the next and the next, until eventually the monsters of this world will be drowned out by the tsunami of compassion that we create.

If you have any questions about acupuncture, or any of the topics in my blogs, please do contact me.  Find out more about me, or my treatments  here.

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