Lockdown in Portugal: let's overcome fear!

With the announcement of a new lockdown in Portugal, from what I have seen and heard in the psychological clinic, I realize the importance of talking about some things.

Emotional insecurity has very deep roots, often beginning in childhood, but also due to trauma.

Fear is one of the manifestations of insecurity. People usually face fears daily and manage to overcome most of them.

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However, adverse scenarios, circumstances loaded with unpredictable situations, and even difficulties with basic aspects of life (food, housing, employment, etc.) serve as triggers for the fear.

What the experience of confinement places today on the Portuguese is undoubtedly an environment of fear. Lockdown itself causes insecurity, it is as if humanity could not learn to get out of this pandemic nightmare.

The most common fear in patients in my clinical practice at this time of COVID is that of death. Many fear the death of loved ones. Many others fear dying. My experience has shown that someone who is afraid of dying is almost always afraid of living. It is at this point that people find the greatest challenge in overcoming fears.

In trying to escape death, they end up moving away from life. Physically confined, they tend to emotional confinement, a kind of imprisonment of affections, where the feelings of helplessness, incapacity, apathy, sadness and anxiety emerge strongly.

There are undoubtedly several strategies for coping with fears. However, I want to share a very effective psychological technique of self-hypnosis at a time when the Portuguese are confined and are immensely afraid of what the pandemic will bring to their lives. To overcome fear, it is necessary to reprogram the mind and look, with the eyes of hope, at what is after the overcoming of fear. Follow the steps:

Define well what your fear is. Write your definition on a piece of paper. For this, ask questions such as: when I feel this fear, I move away from what? When I feel this fear, what the worst could happen? When I feel this fear, what do I feel incapable of?

Imagine what is POSITIVE after overcoming fear. Write your answer on the other side of the piece of paper. For this, ask questions such as: if and when this happens that I'm afraid of, then what will happen next? If I were able to overcome fear, how would I feel afterwards? If I erased the fear from my mind what would I see after overcoming the fear?

Daily read your FEAR and then turn the paper over and read what POSITIVE there is after overcoming fear. Choose to put attention and energy on this POSITIVE side of the paper. Reading (facing) your fear daily will make it less relevant. Reading (overcoming) daily what is POSITIVE after fear will allow the creation of new feelings of overcoming and hope. This is the process of reframing fear.

When performing this technique in a quiet place it is possible to reprogram the mind. You can even repeat the technique for different fears. If any fear persists, just repeat the technique again. The technique is useful not only for the fears arising from the insecurity of the present moment but also for some phobias, in which case a competent professional will be able to better conduct the process.

Focusing on overcoming is a way to overcome fear. The mind, after all, performs.

Marcio Moraes

Psychologist and Hypnotherapist with 20 years of experience.



Portuguese Psychologists Association

American Psychological Association

Federal Council of Psychology of Brazil