It’s so easy today to let fear overwhelm us. If you pause and focus on what could make you anxious and fearful, there, most likely, will be a long list.
Fear of not having enough – enough food, shelter, or basic needs. Or fear of getting older and not doing all you had dreamed of doing in your life.
Or fear of not enough love or connection in the world.
Not enough control of your life. Not sure what’ll come towards you out in the world.
Or fear of losing what you have. The relationships you cherish, the people you love. Your job, your home.
You may want to run away or strike out angrily at your friends and family. Or you just feel frozen in place –unable to move.
You might even become a “mother bear” wanting to protect yourself and others who are more vulnerable.
Fear of not having enough or fear of losing what you have. It’s part of our human nature.
And although fear is a natural part of our life that helps us to survive at times, dwelling on fear can build and spiral out of control like a tornado picking up strength as it moves across land, destroying any joy or happiness in the present moment.
When we let fear take control of us, we feel unsafe and insecure. This most basic need – feeling safe and secure in life, is essential in life. Without it, we’re always on guard for threats that may arise, in survival mode. In this state, we have no space left to explore, learn, connect, create, discover – truly thrive in life. To experience joy.
Fear is a part of being human and probably has been with us since the beginning of time. And yet we’re in charge of how we work with our own fear, how we let it paralyze or overwhelm us or how we may dissolve it. Our external circumstances don’t actually have control over our fear. We do!
Each one of us needs to find our own path out of the sinking hole of fear. We must muster our inner strength and courage and explore our own fear. Move toward it with curiosity, with interest. Why’s it here? What’s its origin? Does it remind us of a fear from earlier years?
"Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones." –Thich Nhat Hanh
Here are 5 tips to support you in breaking free from fear if you finding it creeping into your life.
1. Shift to Thinking – Move your attention away from your feelings to your thinking. Identify the facts that actually exist currently about the situation. Not speculating about the future. Not the chatter from others or in your head that fuels the fear.
2. Take Charge of What You Invite In – Monitor what you choose to see and hear regularly – through news stories, the internet, and even friends who focus on igniting fear through their addiction to threats, violence, dread, and doom.
3. Let the fear go - Move toward your fear. Find a way to share the fear outside yourself – someone who can listen and not fan the fire, but calm it. Maybe write about it. Or express it artistically. Something that’ll begin to move it from a state of being stuck and frozen.
4. Talk to Someone who can Listen Deeply - Share how you feel with someone who listens well. Ask for their insight about the situation. Avoid those who tend to dwell in negativity and anxiety.
5. Remember Your Inner Work - Bring your attention to the present moment. Calm your whole being through meditation, deep breathing, or a walk in nature. Taking charge of your own state is the best way to reduce fear that seems to be creeping in. Within a calmer state, your awareness expands and you can begin to explore and discover new perspectives and solutions. You begin to find your own sense of safety and security and soon discover the fear starts to dissolve.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." – Eleanor Roosevelt
This is the second in my series on Radical Self-Care. Watch for more over the next few weeks! You can also access an audio of a mantra for Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, here in my Free Healing Library to help you get started today on radical self-care. Click here to become a member!
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.