Today, I’ll tell you a story about fear. As you can notice, a wave of fear has fallen on the Earth, putting a veil of worry over many of us and our tiny universes. Thousands of specialists encourage people not to fear, not to fall into the trap of excessively worrying, not to be anxious about what is happening, and not to watch or listen to news about it. „Think positive, some of them they say!”. Behind those encouragements, you rarely find a good tip or advice on how to get rid of the fear by yourself. It feels to me that many of those appeals hide a product or a service you must buy to get to what they say to do or not.
For me, it was hard to make fear a conscious choice. When this started, I
experienced a feeling of worry. I see all the good „advice” I read; I perceive it as a form of denial or invalidation of my emotions.
„How not to feel the fear if I feel it?” It is there. I feel it. I know it. It is rooted in my mind. So, it tells me I want to survive, and my mind is continually searching for options.
When trying to think positively, to watch only comedies and thankful messages, I only show my feelings as a form of rejection. I postpone the moment when they will show up again, more forceful.
I agree we should not fear. But the critical question is HOW? How can you not worry? And please, be truthful to yourself. Are you not afraid, or do you play hide and seek with your feelings?
So, let me share 6 of my strategies to befriend my fear:
Strategy 1: acknowledge it is there. To yourself. You don’t
have to post it on social media. This simple thinking, „I am a bit
afraid,” might be your biggest step in dealing with fear. This
means accepting it: seeing it, hearing it, feeling it. „I see you. I know
you are there might make a big difference”. Limiting the time spent on this type of feeling is essential, so after you say these words, you
may try to lift your eyes to the sky or the ceiling and spend some good
seconds like this.
Strategy 2: acknowledge that fear is there to help. As one of the principles of NLP says, every behavior is triggered by a positive intention. This principle was part of Virginia Satir’s belief system. It means ” that whatever a person does, they are attempting to fulfill some positive intention (of which they may not be aware).” In your case, fear is there to keep you alive. It wants you to live and be healthy. So, this is what you need to focus on – this positive intention. You want to be healthy and stay alive. Does it mean you have an ally ?? Probably yes! You can choose to tell it: „Hey fear, I see you, I hear you, I feel you, and I know you want me to be healthy. I want that, too.” Again, you can lift your eyes and spend time like this when it feels too intense.
Strategy 3: give fear a name. It can be „fear” or something else… This way, you dissociate from it. It is no longer part of who you are. It will become another part that is not yours or inside of you.
Strategy 4: Breathe. Breathing always helps. Focus on the flow of the air in and out. Few times. Moving, dancing, and working out will be even better. You can drive with your fear or try to see its rhythm. You may observe the breaths or moves of the fear: are they ample, light, relaxing activities or short, fast-contracting ones? Alternate relaxing breaths or
activities with the ones of the fear, and observe how you perceive that flow of relaxation-fear-relaxation. When you feel that you are going too deep in the fear energy, re-focus your attention to the breath and observe how the air flows in and out, in and out…
Strategy 5: focus on what is happening now in our body. You can do this by scanning your body from the feet and toes to the head, observing what you see, hearing what you hear, and feeling what you feel. Observe where tension is and where you feel relaxed.
Strategy 6: meditate, relax, and do art. It always helps as it keeps you in the present moment.
A few resources I found and are free:
- Deepak Chopra and Oprah are offering free meditation about hope.
- Music is always relaxing. It is preferable to listen to instrumental sounds. My favorite is Nocturnes by Chopin. When I hear it, I imagine listening to that music in a big opera 100+ years ago. Instant healing of the soul, peace of mind, and goosebumps!
- Draw your emotions, paint mandalas, write, collage, or model. An option is to create beads, jewelry, sewing, or any other activity that requires your complete attention and presence.
Strategy 7: talk to a specialist. This helps a lot, especially for people who don’t have much experience dealing with themselves and their emotions. There are a lot of people willing to help out there. Look for one!
All of these help me to stay anchored in the present and fear less or not at
all. I do not deny what I feel, not hiding in activities like watching movies, compulsively reading positive messages or books, or abandoning myself in vices. I stay, I face, I acknowledge, I reflect, I say thank you, and I move on. Depending on the day, I do some of these activities several times daily. But I choose to do something every time the feeling appears. This way, I show myself I am here when needed. If I could, you may as well! It’s worth a shot.