NewsHillsborough County


Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt.: Stay calm, stay resilient during outbreak

Facing our fear of COVID-19
Posted at 12:07 AM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 06:20:54-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Anthony Brinkley, a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, wants everyone panicked over COVID-19 to take a moment to calm down.

Brinkley served in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years. On Thursday, the author and motivational speaker's focus is on teaching others leadership and resiliency training.

What is resiliency training? For Brinkley, it's not just facing down your fears but conquering them.

"There's a situation, and then there's an action you get to take. Now here's the thing, you get to choose what you do with that action. Where most people deal with anxiety is they continue to run over a problem in their head over and over, and then they actually don't get to a point where they choose an action. And, they wait and see what happens to them."

Waiting for the world to end or to possibly contract COVID-19 is not a plan. Brinkley says watching 24-hour news coverage isn't healthy either.

"Go outside, get some sun on your face," Brinkley said. "We inundate ourselves with information. I'm talking to the news now. I will watch you periodically. But, if I'm watching the news all day and I keep getting the same information passed onto me over and over redundantly, what do you think is going to happen to my mind?"

Brinkley says the first step to conquering your fears is taking a deep breath, ask yourself if you are in danger, assess the situation, and "ask yourself what I can do about it? Own your feelings."

Simply bouncing back after going through a crisis isn't healthy either. Brinkley says we should learn from our negative experiences and carry them with us.

"And, that's what most people do; they never get beyond the point of fear, and they retreat from it, so fear continues to haunt them," Brinkley said. And, I say 'no' examine where you are. And, so that's what we did in combat, we said 'listen we are going to apply what we have, we are going to take care of each other, and the bottom line is we gonna come back.'"

Once we face down our fears, Brinkley says you'll be amazed at the feats one person can overcome and accomplish.

"All the time, I'll say crisis simply reveals your foundation it could be your faith it could be your family altruistic things you do to help other people," Brinkley said. "Hey, look, we got this. We are a great community, so don't let fear just keep you and cripple you."