Uncertainty is an inescapable part of life, but there are moments when the world seems particularly chaotic. When this occurs, fear can consume us as a powerful and often paralyzing emotion. As fear is a natural response to potential threats, however, it can become overwhelming, thus impacting our well-being and quality of life.
Fortunately, there are strategies to help manage fear and at the same time strengthen your inner stability, allowing you to have some sense of self-empowerment and control.
Below, you will find some practical steps you can take to confront and manage your fear:
Fear is an essential human emotion designed to help keep you safe. It triggers the well-known "fight or flight" response preparing the body to react to real threats.
While this response is crucial in real life-threatening situations, it can become a problem when fear is triggered by frightening situations that only exist in our mind and not in reality. When these irrational thoughts occur, they can cause anxiety, stress, and even panic attacks. Knowing the difference between real fear and perceived fear can be helpful in being able to manage these strong emotions.
1) Identify and Acknowledge Your Fear:
Sometimes you're not even aware of your fear or what is causing it. However, if you find yourself feeling stuck, perhaps even feeling paralyzed, not able to manage your life, chances are fear is lurking beneath the surface.
Journaling can be a way to identify your fears by writing about how you feel. For example, you might write something like, "Why am I feeling scared right now, when I know I'm not in real danger? What could cause me to be feeling this way?'
Talking to a friend or a counselor about your feelings may also help you uncover the underlying cause of your fear.
2) Concretize Your Fear:
When you notice yourself feeling agitated or fearful, it's helpful to put it into perspective.
Try this simple tool: On a scale from 1-10, choose the number that best represents how fearful you feel at the moment. For example, perhaps your fear level is about an 8. Next identify the number that reflects the actual threat. Perhaps you realize that the actual threat is about a 3. Notice the difference between the fearful feeling and the actual threat. This is a great way to discern the reality of the fear and how rational it may be.
Building Inner Strength
1) Practice Being in the Moment:
Keeping your mind focused on the present instead of the past or the future is the best way to strengthen your inner stability. Spending to much time worrying about the future and what might happen down the road, keeps you in fear and anxiety.
Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, watching a feel-good movie, listening to music, reading a captivating book, or any other present-oriented activity to help your mind stay focused and in the present.
2) Focus on Self-Care:
Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and engage in regular exercise. These habits provide the energy and resilience needed to cope with any fear or uncertainty that may occur.
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
-Yoda (Star Wars)