Fears; let’s face it, we all have them. In fact if you don’t have some level of fear, chances are life is kind of boring!
Fear is at different times, both our friend and our enemy. Without it our ancestors wouldn’t have known to hightail it from the big woolly mammoth or avoid paddling over a 100 metre waterfall! It’s what gives us our ‘fight or flight’ response. I’m guessing then that the guy who didn’t run from the woolly mammoth (as I would have for sure!), faced his fear and took dinner home that day to his village and was upheld as a hero.
So, those are real life fears, but often fear is a natural response to imagined or possible danger that is created within us. Whenever we try something new, fear will be beside us. Our own imagination, or the self limiting beliefs we have about ourselves can also add to our fears, enabling them to invade our lives and cause destruction or even worse.... INACTIVITY! If we do nothing, fear will hold the power in our lives and we don’t really LIVE. Our dreams and goals remain on hold and we carry on living a safe but ‘trapped in a rut’ life.
A great illustration of this is my massive, irrational fear of heights. One day, I decided to ‘push through’ and conquer this fear by going up in a parachute behind a speedboat .....SCARY!!!
I figured I would be over the ocean so if I fell, I’d probably die, but it shouldn’t be too painful landing in the sea! (I know, that is very weird logic!). Anyway, I was uplifted into the deep blue yonder, and then, spent the next five minutes deep breathing to control my hyperventilating. I spent 80% of the flight with my eyes shut and missed out on amazing views and perspective!
So, once I got brave and opened my eyes for the remaining 20% of the flight, I was able to enjoy the feeling of rushing through the air and the fantastic vista spread in front of me. I wanted to kick myself for not opening my eyes earlier, but also felt proud that I had conquered my longstanding fear for one fifth of the time!
So.... lets deal to these ‘chains of fear’ before they start to run our lives.
Susan Jeffers in her amazing book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” (get it out and devour it if you haven’t already) gives us five truths around dealing with fears. They basically talk about ‘action’ words like ‘pushing through’, ‘getting out’ and ‘just do it, keep aiming for growth’.
So, fear in our lives is inevitable and some fear in certain situations is beneficial. It can motivate us, and as Susan says “can make us feel successful or stronger.”
Here are a few tips to help you manage your day-to-day fears:
Analyse your fear. What exactly is it you are scared of and what is the likelihood of it happening? Sometimes our fears become much bigger in our minds than they really are. Give it a name!
Get all the facts and then plan what you need to do. This will help you take the power back from the fear. Perhaps you’re not well prepared, and that's why you’re fearful. The fear is giving us a signal to prepare.
Notice any negative self talk that might be going on inside you. Find some positives to counteract those grouchy gremlins!
When fear becomes big, sit quietly and meditate for a bit in a safe, comfortable environment. Still your mind first, take deep slow breaths, then afterwards do some slow stretching exercises before you carry on. This will calm your body, mind and breathing, and enable you to manage your fear with more clarity.
Share with a friend. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is very true. You can also talk yourself through it. What's going on? What specifically am I fearful about? Take the time to explore your emotions.
Use Fear! Fear can make our hearts race! Use the adrenaline rush to boost your passion and determination. Take positive strong action! This isn't easy; it just takes remembering and practicing. Soon, you'll love fear, because you’ll see, she’ll push you to do the things you once thought impossible!
Remember, every single person has fears. Take the control back from fear and be in command of your own life!
A thought provoking quote from Ghandi – showing us the massive power of un-managed fear.
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”