If we look closely, our lives can include all sorts of fears. Development, overcoming barriers and acquiring new skills are always associated with challenges that might be fear-inspiring. These difficult emotions are completely natural and necessary, but sometimes they paralyse us and prevent us from completing activities that lead to achieving our goal. How to avoid this paralysis and look to the future with confidence?
We face new fears as we go forward, do new things and take on new challenges. Fear and anxiety are natural “bodyguards” who watch over us to prevent hasty decision-making. They force us to reflect and think, “am I really doing the right thing”? However, the correct operation of these emotions requires work and the ability to tame them. How to do it?
1. Worst case scenario
You know that clichéd sayings like, “everything will be fine”, neither help the situation nor make us feel better. If forced positive thinking doesn’t work, why not do the opposite? When you are afraid of something, try to reflect on the worst that could happen in the moment of failure. Take a close look at this black scenario and see if the losses you are thinking about match the fear you are feeling. In 90% of cases, it turns out that there is nothing to fear, and if it fails, the world will not end either.
2. Small pieces
A famous saying says that “if you want to eat an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time”. This brilliant adage shows in a colourful way the strength of accomplishment in stages and small steps. Not only do we get a clear picture of the task to be performed in this way, but we also avoid the stress associated with our unrealistic ideas. We also gain a rational image of what is happening around us. Try to avoid big mental leaps into the future. Instead, move around everyday life with attention, caution and diligence, and fear will stop growing to paralysing dimensions.
3. Good enough
When we have a goal in mind, we often imagine its ideal scenario. Win a tender, run a marathon, win a gold medal, buy a Ferrari, and go to Bali on holidays. Meanwhile, ideals do not exist, and sometimes we will achieve greater satisfaction and peace in doing something “well enough”. Maybe instead of a marathon, you will start the five-kilometre route? Or perhaps it is worth being pleased with yourself when you make a presentation well, and not only when you win the tender?
While it sounds like an escape cue, it is actually something completely different. If you are faced with a difficult task or decision that causes fear, try to direct your thoughts in a different direction. “Free head” is a space for obsessive thoughts that can stay there, so you need to be ahead of them. When you know you’re about to get scared, start reading a book, solve a crossword puzzle, make a shopping list, or clean up your closet. It’s best if you get tired, mentally or physically. Or you can take advantage of therapeutic tools like an adult weighted blanket to support your nervous system and reduce cortisol production.
5. Stop fighting
Fear is like life – action provokes a reaction. If you fight fear, it will most likely attack with double strength. That’s why it’s useful to look at your emotions from a different angle – let them flow freely, observe, and analyse. Let’s not panic when we begin to be afraid. Let’s learn to see our thoughts and their flow and let’s allow ourselves to feel them. Just imagining this process is relaxing, right?