You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Fear in the form of the fantasy of Halloween is embraced as an exciting opportunity to dress up and party and being spooked is all part of the fun! Real fear, however, isn’t so much fun and can cause a great deal of discomfort and anxiety.
Fear is your fundamental, deeply wired and vital response to danger. If you didn’t feel fear, you would not be alerted to situations where you need to protect yourself from legitimate threats. If, however, you live in fear that everything is a potential danger then you would never take any risks and potentially miss out on some of life’s most enriching experiences and opportunities.
There are also some situations that you may have no control over and facing up to your fears can be empowering. A big part of building your own personal resilience and confidence is to be able to experience challenges and potentially fearful situations.
How we manage our fear can be useful in helping us to be able to cope better.
Here are some suggestions on how to manage your fear:
If you feel yourself getting worked up and your heart starts to beat faster or your palms start to sweat it is important to manage and calm this down through your breathing. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and concentrate on inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Use the count of four. Breathe in for four, hold your breath for four and breathe out to the count of four. Focus purely on your breathing and continue to do this until you feel calmer.
2. Create some head space
It can be very challenging to think clearly when you are flooded with fear and paralysed by anxiety. Taking some time out to create some headspace and gain a clearer perspective is very useful. Distracting yourself by focusing on something else can help to diffuse and release some of the intensity that you may be dealing with. A clearer mind will help you to establish a more balanced perspective of the situation you are afraid of. Even just going out for a walk and getting some fresh air can be a way of easing and clearing your mind.
3. Flip the thought
Identify what it is exactly that you fear the most and articulate this to yourself. It may help to actually write it down so you have a better clarity of the situation and your thoughts surrounding it. Once you have established and acknowledged what you perceive to be the worst-case scenario flip it over in your mind and imagine what the best-case scenario could look like. Begin then to train your mind to visualise what that best-case scenario would look like, sound like and feel like.
4. Talk about it
Sharing fears in a supportive and constructive environment will help you to rationalise your fears, take away some of the loneliness that fear can often impose and seek out positive options and alternatives. Friends and family who have a genuine interest in your well-being can be very supportive in times of need and I am also a big fan of talking therapies, especially CBT cognitive behavioural therapy. Identify what would work best for you.
5. Face your fears
Avoiding something you are afraid of can actually make the fear seem a lot more frightening than it actually is. Your imagination can be very powerful and almost trick you into believing that the fear is real. Facing your fears will help you build your confidence and courage muscles. When you face your fears, you will start to realise that what you feared wasn’t as scary after all and it will help you to build the courage to do more things that you may feel fearful about.
It is worth bearing in mind that fear can be a useful emotion, if you channel it constructively, as it can alert you to potential risks and dangers that you may need to consider. It is important, however, that you don’t allow it to rule your life as, left to its own devices, it can grow and manifest all sorts of monsters in your mind.
Remember, fear is a product of your imagination and if you allow it to take over it can cause you to fear things that do not presently and may never exist.
Figure out how you’re scaring yourself. Then acknowledge that you are creating your fear and you’ll start to triumph over it.
– Jack Canfield
Some of the organisations that Liggy works with include the BBC, the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support, the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations, Sainsbury’s, The Walt Disney Company, Ralph Lauren and various universities and public sector organisations.
Liggy believes that the diversity of the clients she works with provides her with a tremendous insight into the challenges that people currently face across all sectors.
Her current book, Resilience: How To Cope When Everything Around You Keeps Changing, is a practical and accessible guide for coping with change and offers advice on how to recover and flourish through challenging times. The guiding principles in the book have just been televised for a series with the BBC world service due out in 2019.
Latest posts by Liggy Webb (see all)
- Mental Health – 12 ways to live a happier and healthier life - October 10, 2019
- How to intelligently manage your emotions - August 22, 2019
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