Fear has a sneaky way of sucking you in. It happens to all of us. The truth is, your fears don’t have to consume you. Anxiety about drama at the office or impossible project deadlines can be deafening. In fact, I bet they’re yelling right now. Today's blog is all about turning the volume down, the next time your fears get to loud.
Step 1: Pause
When we get scared, it normally means it’s time to jump into action! Therapists call this a “fight or flight” response. Our ancestors, on the Serengeti depended on our natural response to jump into action. We had to make quick decisions, like “do I fight this tiger” or “do I skedaddle!”
Even though giving a speech isn’t life or death, it triggers the same response as a predator inches away from attack. Our goal is to fight the urge to panic when we get scared. Don’t PANIC, just PAUSE. Assess the situation. Is my life in danger? Chances are, you’re not inches away from getting eaten. This is great news!
Step 2: Breathe!
Even though we’ve realized you’re not under attack, that doesn’t mean your body might still be sending off alarm bells. Fear tends to make us break out to cold sweats and cause our heart beasts to race. Focus your attention on your breathe so you won’t get swept up in the internal chaos. Remember, fear is just a state of mind!
Step 3: Recognize it!
Don’t rush this step! You may need to take 5 – 10 minutes of deep breathing, before you’re ready to face your fears. At the end of the day, your frantic thoughts are just begging for your attention. If you try to push them away, or bury them, they’ll only get louder. It’s like that old saying “What you resist, persists!”
In marriage counseling, I like to tell partners to take some alone time to recognize what their own fears may be. Then we take it one step further. During couples therapy I encourage partners to embrace their fears. When we talk about the ghosts in our head, like past arguments, with each other openly and honestly, they lose the power to haunt us and our relationships.
Step 4: Ask for help when you need it
Fear is a state-of-mind like any other emotion. Maybe it’s time you got some tools to help overcome it! If you’re struggling, give us a call or drop by our Fort Lauderdale office. We’re here to help. Book an appointment, and let’s get to work.