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Elena Cismigiu: 4 ways to manage your fears

4 ways to manage your fears

Interview by Xhoana Lama

ELENA CISMIGIU is a passionate advocate for women with disabilities and chronic illnesses. She is also a disabled woman herself, and shares her story as an inspiration for people who would love to take action. Elena wants everyone to be confident and follow their dreams, as she has done herself. From being a disabled student juggling an illness at university to a new start, when she created her own business. Elena is the Founder and Co-Director of HX  Lab, and also a super innovative and technological business expert in
Psycholo ical and neurobiological research. ”Disability is not stopping us, it is fear playing this hard game with our minds. Fear is considered the real

How has your background in entrepreneurship combined with neuro-science helped you to build your business?

Having background in two very different areas made me more open-minded towards new innovative business ideas and projects. Neuroscience gave me the factual skills needed to present ideas in a scientific way and allowed me to analyse information with a more critical eye. While creating my business and choosing my niche, I realised how much information online in the business culture, especially in marketing, uses science in the wrong way. Information provided to an every day consumer is stated as science-based, but most of the time it is not. The misinformation provided motivated me to combine actual scientific explanation and data in my business.


Having disabilities in business is a kind of tabu, how could you manage the whole situation?

Being transparent with your clients, colleagues and staff is key in ending the stigma over disabilities. There is no shame in being ill and cancelling meetings, you would be surprised that most people are not bothered by rescheduling meetings! Not only being transparent in the workplace, but al-so on social media can motivate other individuals to venture in the business world. Sharing the good and the bad online helps normalise illnesses.

What field of neuroscience amazes you the most?

Behavioural neuroscience is a big area of interest, both academically and in my work. It is amazing how the subconscious mind reacts to information differently to conscious reactions. For example, most businesses receive their feedback through traditional surveying methods but do not realise how biased the data is. It is guaranteed that a person will not be 100% truthful in their answers, and unbiased enjoyment and opinions can only be measured through behavioural research methods such as brain scanning. A person can say through a survey that they enjoyed a certain activity, but their brain wave pattern can show otherwise.

Why does fear take control of our minds a lot easier than happiness?

It is very easy to get wrapped up in every-day worries, and biologically humans are more prone to fear and worry when exposed to situations they are not used to. Besides having a natural fear of the unknown, social expectations and unhealthy coping mechanisms also play a huge role. Mental health illnesses and coping mechanisms have always been associated with weaknesses, therefore people seek help less, due to the fear of be-ing seen as an outsider. By not having a clear mind and not checking up on our mental health, we allow doubts to fill our mind and we forget about what makes us happy.

People are freaking out because of the coronavirus now. Fear makes us weaker, and the power of our minds can move everything. Do you think our collective fears are making this world worse?

Social media panic and misinformation plays a massive role in collective fear. With the sheer amount of information during the situation, it is very easy to panic and make rash decisions. Media outlets spread wrongful information that confuses the masses, and making them turn against each other.

Please give some tips on how to control fear.

Fear is a normal response during this stressful time. Whether you worry about your health, your loved ones or the security of your job, it is very im-portant to ask yourself what you can do to make the situation easier and less stressful. It is very easy to just panic and not do anything about it. But we are very privileged that we can access information and support online, so make the most of it.

My tips for combating fear during this time of uncertainty are:

1. Keep your body and mind healthy. Whether you are self isolating or working at home, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Go for a walk, make your favourite food or engage in your favourite activity. At the end of the day, your mind is the one processing fear so taking care of it is the most important.

2. Don’t check news 24/7. There is so much information on the internet and most of it is wrong. Keep yourself informed only by true information, usually given by your local government and stay away from tabloids and mass media. The information they provide is meant to create mass panic and spread misinformation.

3. Keep in touch with friends and family. Just because we are self-isolating doesn’t mean that we cannot talk to our loved ones online. Check up on people in your life that are at risk and allocate an hour or more a day talking to friends and family.

4. Be mindful of bulk buying. When the pandemic started spreading worldwide, people all over the world started bulk buying mindlessly. Be mindful of what you buy, as there are individuals who need certain products such as paracetamol. Therefore it is not needed to bulk buy hundreds of packets. If you have more than you need, give them to charities, local shelters or care home

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