“I can never get rid of my fear.” Has this thought ever crossed your mind before?
You’re right. You will never get rid of your fears. And that’s good. It is a natural warning system to have in place when it’s really necessary. Fear is nothing to worry about, everybody has it – and we will never get rid of it because it’s in our DNA.
However, sometimes fear can go out of control which makes you feel bad about yourself and your life. You start fearing situations or worrying about things others don’t even waste a single thought on. All of this can catch you by surprise. It can start at any stage of your life. Once it happens, you feel as if you are a coincidental bystander watching an accident – you see what’s coming, but think there’s nothing you can do.
You probably think you’ve already wasted a lot of time and energy trying to fight your fears- and accepted that you’re never going to win. Fear can be overwhelming and if we’ve lived with it for some time it seems as if it’s here to stay. We start believing our negative and destructive thoughts. Whatever it is you’re afraid of – there’s always a way out.
How to Stay Put When Fear Kicks In
Although it might not seem possible to get rid of all fears for good, you can start to learn to control the ones that are limiting you. It is possible to take over control again. The only thing you have to do is to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t aim to fight harder or think about strategies how to handle fear the next time. Just try these simple steps when fear is kicking in:
- Acknowledge that Fear is Taking Over
You can only take on an opponent if you know he’s there and who he is. My habit was to go into denial and to tell myself repeatedly “I don’t have fear, everything’s going to be fine” like it was my personal mantra. It made things worse. Once I started to admit that fear was taking hold of me, I learnt that I felt better when calling a spade a spade than to push the thought away.
- Try to Breathe in a Regular Manner
We breathe every single minute of our lives but never waste a thought on it. Breathing can have an impressive impact on our well-being. I highly recommend working on your breathing. If you are into yoga you already know what to do. In case you are new to this just stand or sit still and try to breathe in as deeply as possible until you have filled your belly with air and then slowly release until your lungs are completely empty. The moment you concentrate on breathing you cannot think of fear. And getting enough air into your system will make your body calm down quickly.
- Analyse the Situation
Sometimes it’s just symptoms like an accelerated pulse or uncontrollable sweating, dizziness or sickness. Sometimes you cannot even figure out what it is exactly that is going on. What is the fear exactly about? Is there actual danger waiting for you in this situation? Is your head messing with you? Is someone else making you feel bad? Try to engage the rational side of your brain.
- Analyse What is Happening in Your Mind
We are oblivious to the fact that we’re in a constant internal dialogue with ourselves. We cannot stop thinking unless we decide to. Have you ever tried? It’s almost impossible – that’s why becoming a zen master is very difficult and might take decades of practice. If you are stuck in a situation that makes you feel unwell you need to know what is going on. There are many different types of limiting beliefs and no matter what it is it’s enough that it is making you feel weak and without control.
When you are in a situation you are afraid of running away is NOT an option. It’s never an option unless your house is on fire, or somebody wants you dead. If you choose to elude now, next time your fear will tell you to stay away from this situation entirely. So you are going to lose territory bit by bit until you are forced to live a life within very limited boundaries. Do you really want that?
I know all of this sounds a lot. In fact, it’s just a matter of minutes to get in control of the state you are in. The purpose is to break the vicious cycle that is about to start and leave you stranded in emotional and physical distress for hours. This little but effective process will make you take a step back and take over control in this very moment. The situation itself will remain the same, but while you are forced to think about the scenario in a rational way your body will not be able to react to your negative thoughts anymore.
So next time you are getting nervous or paralyzed look your fear straight into the eye and say: “I know what you’re about to do.”
Feel free to post your experience. I’d love to hear how you cope with situations that make you feel fearsome or let you worry.