“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Roosevelt

Whenever I felt frightened about a new venture, my mother would share her favorite quote by Franklin Roosevelt “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. That has stayed with me through many a scary time. It made so much sense but unfortunately I think the times have created a new metaphor around fear. Essentially, we are now in the midst of a culture that seems to love to dole out fear as if it were candy for the masses.

Not a day goes by without some news that informs us that we must avoid something that might be detrimental to our well being. If you watch any of the 24 hour news channels, you’re more than likely to discover something frightening every few minutes. Even if the anchor person is discussing a subject that is somewhat tepid, you can rest assured that they’ll be a scroll underneath them reporting on a murder or a new salmonella scare. Our bodies are programmed to help us to “fight or flee” if we are under siege. This mechanism is at the ready whether it is real or imagined.

If our perceptions are such that we feel under attack many times during the day, the constant flooding of cortisol throughout our systems will eventually damage our bodies ability to keep its’ immune system intact. It will also make us anxious and or depressed. In today’s world the media seems focused on scaring the living hell out of us as a form of entertainment. This segue ways into every nook and cranny of our lives. Eating a meal with friends or family has become riddled with dialogue about whether the ingredients are healthy or harmful. One day we hear blueberries could lead us to the promised land the next we are on the road to damnation.

Children are so protected that the days of seeing them running around outdoors is becoming practically extinct. It could make the national news if someone sights a group of kids playing kickball in the streets without helmets, kneepads and an emergency medical kit close at hand. Talking to a stranger in a line at the grocery store might kill you if they have the slightest sniffle and you had better reflect on your behavior if you talk too much, flush the toilet too many times or have a need to call your mother too often. Maybe it’s time to stop feeding the piranhas of fear. Information can be useful or useless. It’s up to you to sort it out. Use it wisely and don’t become its’ slave.

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

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4 Responses to “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Roosevelt

  1. Donna W. Adair says:

    Loretta,
    Thank you so much for reminding us of these very important words which were spoken by President Roosevelt. I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who was asked to resign from my job because I stood up for the inmates under my care who were being abused and neglected by staff members at the facility where I was employed.
    I have been unemployed now since the end of September. Believe me, fear has tried to creep in my mind to haunt me. I have listened to your CDs and I cannot tell you how much they have helped keep my spirits up!! Thanks for all you do to keep the rest of us grounded in the things we know to be true. God Bless YOU!!!

  2. Ted Casher says:

    Scare news generates media stories. Some of the most fun times I had in high school were spent riding on the back of a pickup truck. Some of the most fun times I had in grammar school were spent sledding down a ravine with my buddies. And when one of our pals hit his head, we hauled him home on his sled.

    We went out every day and played—all day! And at 5 PM, our mothers would be calling us to wash our hands and come in for supper. For this, we used bar soap—none of this liquid sanitizer that is so prevalent everywhere.

    And if you misbehaved, you could be sure that your mother heard about it by the time you got home. And you could get a swat in the bum!

    It was during the administrations of Nixon and Reagan that the Republican schema came into fruition: It took the combined efforts of Mama and Papa working fulltime to achieve a middle class level of entitlement. Thank you, goys……

  3. Patty Rufo says:

    You are so right on this one. I get so depressed watching the media,
    the medical ads and sickness eventually make you think you have everything that’s advertised and the murders and rapes make you so depressed.
    I bet if they had one day a week of just happy news the mood of this country would change.

  4. Lorraine says:

    Bravo, Loretta!

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