I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Fear comes in many shades. Sometimes it’s a feeling that stops you in your tracks, other times it seeps like water into the gaps. It can be something you carry with you; a slight weight in the stomach, it can come and go, or it can keep you in a constant state of paralysis.
Fear is one of our greatest survival instincts, but it can be complicated and doesn’t always fall into the categories of good and bad. It is down to us to learn to recognize and try and control the fear, before it controls us.
The first step is to learn to embrace fear. Just like the ripple of anxiety, if you try and hold it down it can turn into a wave. When you feel the fear seep in, take a moment to witness it, and to listen to it but only as a suggestion maker – not as a truth-teller. Fear should instruct and inform but not control. It is a bodily response and it is down to your mind to assess the fear factor and step in to soothe.
Often fear arises from the unsettled feeling of facing the unknown. To face our fears, we must educate ourselves to truly understand all the elements of that which frightens us. When we don’t have the full facts at our fingertips, the mind works overtime to fill in the gaps. If you are afraid of flying – study aerodynamics so you know how aeroplanes work, etc.
While education can be a handy tool in illuminating the truth that sits behind your fear, its also important to know when to ease off on the information. Sometimes, consuming too much information and becoming embedded in the topic that brings you discomfort only serves to keep you locked into the fear response and adds to the anxiety. This is especially true around topics like health anxiety, terrorism, global pandemics, and other grand-scale events out of your control. Try and limit your news intake and know when to take your foot off the gas and get back to grounding in your surroundings.
Tackle your fear head-on by understanding what you can and cannot control. Grab a piece of paper and make two lists. On one side write all the elements of your fear that are under your control. For example, you can always aim to have control of your breathing, your actions, your mindset. On the other side make a list of the things you cannot control – other peoples actions, etc. Seeing it in black and white may help to shift your energy – you become more focused on the things you can control and you learn to let go off the things you cannot control.
Etch into Ritual
Another way of overcoming fear is to build fear battling practices into your daily ritual. Fear is feeling off-balance, not trusting the body and letting your mind run away like wild horses over the hills. Build tiny practices into your daily routine that help to combat that. Three minutes of breathwork in the morning, five minutes of stretching after lunch, ten minutes of journaling before bed. Keeping the body moving as best you can be an amazing remedy when it comes to loosening the grip of fear.
How do you handle fear and what tips do you have for overcoming feeling that loss of control? Share with us in the comments.