Fear in some situations is good and necessary. It triggers the fight or flight response in us when we’re in danger. To live in fear on a day-to-day basis though isn’t healthy.
There is so much anxiety in today’s society. During normal times we have anxiety about friends, family, work, the stock market, social media, politics, and any number of other things.
Today though, with the Coronavirus floating around, people are scared witless for a whole new reason. I’m discovering that most of the fear is coming from the unknown…which is where most fear lives.
If you watch TV news for more than 5 minutes at a time you’re likely to lose your mind!
I have several friends that are suffering from anxiety primarily because they don’t know what’s going to happen or what to expect. For a couple of my friends, this is the first time they’ve had to deal with a major unknown on their own.
It’s important to remember that when you live in fear and anxiety, you reduce your body’s ability to remain healthy. Science has shown that internalizing anger, fear, and anxiety over time inhibits your immune system.
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Fear can be insidious and can come sneaking into your life one step at a time.
Our daily fear doesn’t necessarily come in the form of major life challenges like being held at gunpoint, car accidents, a plane crash, or facing the potential threat of a deadly disease.
It can come in much more subtle forms like the fear of being alone or the fear of not being accepted.
For more than 50 years I lived in fear of my father, not physically but emotionally. For most of my life he called me stupid and an idiot. I lived in fear that I wasn’t enough…I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t smart enough.
I now realized how untrue that old childhood saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” really is. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to mask our pain, our shame, and our fear.
I wasn’t able to stand up to my father’s verbal abuse until I was 52 years old. And when I finally did, it was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life. It was also one of the most liberating feelings of my life. It literally put my life on a new course, one that I never dreamed was possible.
I still struggle with fear on a variety of different levels as I’m sure most of you do also.
To some extent I’m still afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid that I won’t be accepted for who I am and what I do.
The problem is that the only place these fears reside is in my head. How do I know? I’m regularly reminded that when I make a mistake, I survive it and I live on.
A mistake may not be my proudest life moment, but it may also give me a great tale to tell later. I’m also reminded by so many people of the impact I’ve made in their lives. That is very humbling to know and to me, is a blessing from God.
There are several things you can do to reduce the impact of fear.
Here are some tips from the University of Minnesota to reduce the impact of fear and stress.
- Practice stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or aerobic exercise.
- Shift your focus to the positive emotions in daily life.
- Work to identify meaning and purpose in your life.
- Get support from others.
- Go for a walk or run in a park.
In addition, studies show that facing what scares you most may be the best antidote for your fear. Here is a link to a great article about facing your fears. https://www.psycom.net/facing-your-fear
Personally, I’ve found that going for a walk is not only good for your health, but it’s therapeutic. It hasn’t made any difference if I was walking on a treadmill or outside.
There’s just something about physical movement that helps clear your mind and allows you to think more clearly. I know there is science behind this, but I’ll let you do the research on it if you’re so inclined.
I’ve also learned that facing your fear, in my case, my father, I was able to eliminate that fear completely. I have faced other fears the same way, addressing them head on.
I know I’m not the first person to face fear in situations or challenges that come up. I’ve learned that when I have faced my fear of making a mistake I am better able to do it the second or third time. Each time I face something I fear, it gets easier and easier to face.
Today, I hope I’ll inspire you to face at least one of your fears head on regardless of how big or small it is. Take this as a challenge. Let me know how you overcame your fear. Leave a comment below or drop me an email at email@example.com.