“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” –C. JoyBell C. on how to deal with fear.
Although we may not like to admit it, we all have fears and anxieties. Your fears may be problems that have been present for your whole life, or they might pop up only occasionally to nip at your heels. Whatever the size of your fear, it can be tackled.
New fears pop up throughout our lives as our experiences and circumstances change and develop. Although many of these anxieties will be quite specific, there are many standard measures you can take to dull, or even eradicate them. Here are a few to try out next time you are standing face to face with a fearful prospect!
1. Focus on the Breath
Panic is rising in your chest, your head is racing and full of ‘what if’ scenarios and you can’t think straight. The first thing to do is to return to basics. Focus on the simplest and purest of things; your breath. There is a good reason that so many meditations use the breath as their foundation. To focus on the breath is to quirt the noise in your mind, and to tune into the rhythm of the breath is to tune in with a sensation of calm, safety and consistency.
Close your eyes, listen to your breath. Don’t force it in any direction; just notice it. When you feel sufficiently clam and centred, only then return to the matter at hand, able to address it from a place of clam.
2. Go To Your Happy Place
If focusing on our breath is not quite working, try this. Close your eyes and visit you happy place. This could be any place in the world, it could be an imaginary place, indeed, it could be a sensation, a smell or a memory. Whatever that place is, visit is for a sense of calm and a reminder that good and places without fear do exist in the world.
3. How Bad Can It Be?
Consider the thing you fear. What is the worst thing that could happen as a result of doing the thing about which you feel so anxious? Very often the answer to this question highlights the irrationality of your fear, or certainly that your anxiety has less weight than you are giving it.
Now that you have asked yourself what the worst that can happen is, now consider, ‘what is the worst that has happened?’ This thing you fear, has anyone ever actually hurt themselves doing it? Has failing at this actually ever ruined anyone’s reputation? Is there evidence of it being unsafe? Is your fear unsupported by actual evidence?
5. Face Your Fears
Ah yes, that old cliché. But does facing your fears actually work? Well, here’s the thing, clichés become clichés for a reason. By avoiding engaging in something you are afraid of you are only making things worse for yourself. If you do not face them then how will you even know if it was something worth fearing? If your concerns are valid? The more you face up to your fears, the more resilient you become towards them.
6. Get It Out in the Open
Don’t let that anxiety fester inside of you. Talk to somebody. Fear and anxiety, when left bouncing about inside of you, only gets worse. If you share with somebody the likelihood is that they will be able to offer you an angle on your worry that you hadn’t thought of before, or that they will be able to see what it is that you need to tackle it.
7. Revisit Coping Mechanisms
What do you usually find works well when you are anxious or afraid? Most of us have had to deal with fear and anxiety before, so what did you do last time? Perhaps a good night’s sleep, a decent meal, a bit of exercise or listening to your favourite album is all you need to keep your anxiety at bay. What are your most reliable coping mechanisms?
By Chris Thomson
Out an about and feeling the fear creep up on you? No problem, the world is full of places just right for a moments silence and meditation… Great Places to Meditate in Public
*TV Mindfulness Expert and Conscious Visionary, Neil Seligman is dedicated to sharing the power of mindfulness globally, transforming lives, and inspiring excellence in all aspects of human endeavour. He is the Founder of The Conscious Professional, the Author of 100 Mindfulness Meditations, and the Originator of Soul Portrait Photography. As a sought after mindfulness teacher and life coach, Neil has been featured by the BBC, The Mirror, Yoga Magazine, Best Magazine, Psychologies, OmYoga Magazine, Attitude, Soul & Spirit Magazine, and more.