Recent events and the ever changing state of the world has me thinking a lot this week. There are so many feelings and emotions rushing through our minds right now, but the one that seems to be at the forefront for most people is fear. Fear feels like the all-encompassing emotion for many of us today. Fear feels like the ringleader. When a tragic incident strikes, like the shooting in Parkland, Florida (especially close to home for me), our minds can become overrun with fear. Naturally so. Fear plays a very large role in our lives today, and while being completely consumed by fear won’t be of service to us, it’s also important to note the purpose that fear serves. Fear can be a protector, a shield, a voice of reason. It’s so beneficial to remember the time and place where this is true. But fear can also run us ragged, take hold of us, and rob us of peace of mind.
When we get caught up in a life ruled by fear, we feel disempowered, we feel like a victim, and we feel like we have no control in life. Like anything else in life, once we become aware of how fear creeps in, we can begin to change our relationship with it. We can use it to our own benefit, and we can transform how we view it, leaving us feeling much more empowered, courageous, and in control. Again, like everything else, this is a practice!
And so, my intention for the blog this week (and every week, truthfully) is to share my process with managing fears so that we can take the good and ditch what isn’t working for us. It is my intention to empower you all to work through your fears to help you to find peace of mind and a sense of security, from within.
- Become aware of fear based thoughts. My number one way for tackling any problem is to first cultivate awareness. Often times we experience the symptoms of problems, and have trouble finding it’s real root. Fear based thoughts can be a slippery slope. If you’re feeling like fear has taken over you, take note! What thoughts are you thinking that are making you feel fearful? It might be helpful to take a fearful thought inventory. A great way to do this is to carry around a small notebook and jot down the thoughts when they arise. Putting these thoughts on paper will help you to recognize them, honor them, and work through them.
- Notice what situations and circumstances bring up this fear for you. Just like it’s important to take note of your thoughts, it’s also helpful to be mindful of experiences that bring up fear. Again, it can be helpful to take an inventory at first just to get a grip on what is up for you with fear. Write down in your notebook where, how, and when fear creeps in for you, again so that we can work through it. More on this below!
- Don’t judge your fears. We all fear different things for different reasons based on our own very unique paths in life. Try not to judge yourself for what makes you feel on edge, there’s likely a reason for it. This work is about noticing the fears, finding where they stem from, and working with them. Judgment will not be of service here. On the flip-side, it’s nice to note to be mindful of judging other’s for their fears as well. Remember, we all are walking different paths and likely have our reasons for the fears we’ve picked up.
- Talk out your fears. Like I said at the beginning of the blog, some fear can serve a purpose, and some can be damaging. My favorite way of sorting out my fears is to converse with them. If I’m experiencing fear, and my mind becomes aware of it, it’s been helpful for me to stop and walk myself through my fear. Why is this coming up for me right now? What is making me feel this way? What am I afraid of in this instance? From my experience, fear breeds off of uncertainty and relies on you not taking action on it. Having these internal conversations when fear arises will help you to nip it in the bud so to speak and help you to weed out the irrational fears that might be plaguing you.
- Have a sounding board on call. While it’s great to be able to talk yourself through fear, sometimes it’s super beneficial to get an outside opinion. Have on call someone you trust, someone who has your best interest at heart, someone who can be truthful with you; so when you’re feeling overcome with fear, you can feel safe talking it out.
- Work through the possible outcomes. So much fear stems from uncertainty of the future. Our minds love to imagine all the bad possibilities of situations and circumstances, and often times forget the good ones. When feeling fearful, take some time to jot out the possible outcomes, both good and bad. Read through the list and ask yourself the likelihood of these outcomes. Often, when we confront the wild stories our mind has made up, we can rationalize with them and find a sense of peace.
- Take action. One of the biggest obstacles fear can bring is the feeling of overwhelm and victimhood. We feel like we have no power and no control. While it’s true that we can’t control what happens in the external world, we can influence what takes place. The best way to calm the mind, ease the fears, and to promote any kind of change you wish to see is to commit to action. Actionable steps can be small but powerful. You never know what kind of magic is on the other side of fear.
I hope this process for transforming fear is helpful for you!
As always, I love keeping the conversation going. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org