We’ve all been afraid, and know what it feels like. Few of us like being scared of what might happen. But the most important part is not the fear itself – rather how you conquer it. So, today, let’s talk fears, and how to deal with them – quickly, effectively, once and for all!
In a recent post about how to find courage to put 100% effort into the new after having been burned by the old, I touched upon the topic of fear briefly. Since then, I’ve wanted to explore this topic in more detail, as it is very vast and important for self-improvement. So, today, let’s talk about different kinds of fears we all experience, and how to deal with them effectively!
Fear is one of the most basic, most human emotions we experience. It is usually spoken of negatively, and it may well have a bad influence on your life, if you let it. But there’s nothing wrong with the emotion itself. In fact, a wise man once said:
“Fear is wisdom in the face of danger.”
«Sherlock: The Abominable Bride» written by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
(Sherlock fans, anyone? 😉 )
Problems start when we are afraid without a specific danger in sight. Many of us, at some stage, let fear run the whole show we call life. What that can do to you is make you become a whole different person – take a job you never thought you’d take for fear of not having any, stay in a relationship with a person you don’t truly love for fear of staying alone, and so forth.
Dealing with “existential” fears
A way to deal with this is kind of fear, which is deep-rooted in the subconscious and may not even be recognised openly, other than through inexplicable feats of worry, is through courage. The courage to agree to take only the things that match your ideals and ideas of happiness. Easier said than done, I know.
What helped me understand it’s okay to demand from life only satisfying experiences, especially if they require long-term commitment (like a relationship or a job), is seeing the abundance of everything around. So, first I started paying attention that the things I seek exist, and there’s no shortage of them. And secondly, I got real about how to get them. You won’t get much from life if you sit on one place and wish for it – anything that is worth having requires work, both to prepare and get it, and then to maintain it. Hopefully, this two-step strategy helps you deal with your own “existential” fears, too.
Now, the conversation is not over just yet. Because there is another type of fear, slightly different from the first, but one we also face sometime. It is the kind that comes for a reason – when there is an actual problem that comes to the forefront of your mind and, to claim your attention, makes you very uncomfortable. Loud fearful thoughts in this case may even be accompanied by physical symptoms, like a pressing headache or a heaviness in your chest.
The good thing about this “situational” fear is that it doesn’t stick around for too long and when it comes, you are always aware of it. The problem, however, is that it paralyses you. Such fear has a nasty effect on our minds, which makes us overwhelmed with how tragic our life can get if we don’t resolve the issue.
Say, for example, you got laid off. The news came out of the blue, so there hasn’t been enough time not only to find a new job, but also to ensure you have enough savings to keep feeding your family and paying the bills. Naturally, you freak out every time you think of the debts you’ll accumulate if you’re still out of work three months, half a year or, god forbid, a whole year from now. Anybody would be scared in this situation.
Dealing with “situational” fears
As it is completely okay to be afraid in a circumstance like that, the first thing you want to avoid to deal with the problem better is blaming yourself. Many of us tend to shame ourselves whenever we are afraid – as if it makes us a weak person, unable to deal with the situation. You don’t want to let such self-defeatist thoughts sink in.
To change the direction of your thinking, talk with yourself. But not necessarily about the problem, its causes or consequences – this conversation can quickly spiral into even more headache. No, just lie down as if you are going to sleep, and gently – whether aloud or not – tell yourself how it’s alright to be afraid. That it is human, and that even the Hollywood celebrities who look so perfect and shiny on the magazine covers have experienced and grieved over similar shocks in life – losing jobs, divorces, miscarriages, fires burning down the house, you name it. Nobody goes through life with 100% immunity from these things, so what you are feeling is totally, absolutely normal.
What we should do, though, is not let our disaster blind us so we lose sight of solutions. Fear is an instrument devised by nature to warn us of trouble and make us more capable to solve it, because of stress hormones released in the blood. It is proven that when released for a short term, they improve our brain function and make neurons perform at peak capacity, among other benefits. So, in a way, we have extra resources now to solve this particular issue – why waste them on picturing the worst outcomes?
Try your best to concentrate on what exactly you need to do to leave the trouble behind, and devise an action plan with a few backup alternatives. In the case with losing your job, it would probably be putting in applications and talking with existing connections about new openings they might recommend you for. Whatever it takes, draw a line between you now and the desired (not feared!) outcome, and you will get going in the right direction in no time!
And the last type of fear I suggest we talk over today is the one which comes from not being in total control of an outcome. We can call it “relationship” fear, because it usually arises when there’s another party responsible for keeping things on an even keel. Have you ever been afraid a romantic partnership may break up and leave you hurt? Or that your loved one would be unsafe in their upcoming trip? Then, you know what I’m talking about.
Dealing with “relationship” fears
A simple way to deal with this one is by shamelessly, unapologetically concentrating on your own wellbeing. Not for the rest of your life – just until you are no longer afraid. This kind of fear tends not to linger too long, but may become poisonous if it succeeds to get you obsessed.
But think about it – nothing even happened yet! Your partner is probably busy going about their day, totally content about the relationship, and that loved one is simply packing the bags, excited for a new adventure! Why would you want to stay worried without a single reason to be? So, switch your mind to a more productive worry – about the next step towards improving your family life or career, about what you want to achieve and work towards.
Hopefully, these quick, but lasting solutions help you battle your fears and stay on top of your game!
Enjoy your journey!
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