Fear is NOT always rational. What do you think of this statement? It certainly seems like it at the time doesn’t it?
Fear is the monster that lives under your bed. And when you look at it, it disappears.
I looked at this problem rationally, and came up with a solution that was workable, and suddenly the fear was gone. It just didn't affect me any longer. We're afraid of something that we think might happen. We're not necessarily afraid of the moment that we're in right now, it’s the future that we tend to be afraid of.
Generally, we're making up a story, that we're telling ourselves about what's going to happen and there's no evidence to suggest any of the things that we think will be a catastrophe are actually going to happen.
I guess overcoming fear is to stay present and to think; Well, okay, what's happening today? What's happening now? Am I okay? Am I safe, and then basically moving forward day to day, because it's often our fear of what might happen.
Different fears require different strategies, and not every fear can be controlled in the same way. When you've got these strategies, then you can manage that fear on a daily basis and it no longer controls you.
Before we talk about fear strategies and ways of handling fear, I want to give you an example of how fear gripped me in my life and what I did to get over it. My marriage broke up, I became a single mother and I had three children to support at a time when there was an economic downturn. There wasn't a lot of money coming in and it was a pretty scary prospect to think about starting again. I thought I was going to end up living in my car and it terrified me.
I called my coach and talked to him and he made me look at what was going on at a rational level. And I pushed through my fears.
Below are five strategies that will help you manage your fears:
- Give your fear a name:
As the heading states give your fear a name and create a character around that fear. Trash talk your character, tell it how you really fear and stand up to it. Tell your fear to go away. When you create a persona around it, you’re able to have more control over it. It’s like you’re able to see the character and talk to it’s face. Tell them you’re not having any of it.
- Follow it to its logical conclusion:
This is the strategy I personally used when I thought I was going to become homeless and it’s the same strategy that my coach also used when he was in a similar situation.
You follow through with whatever it is you’re afraid of to its logical conclusion. So, if we stick with the homeless idea you obviously think that might happen because you’re unable to pay rent because you’ve either lost your job or your outgoings are more than what you are bringing in.
Do you have someone to talk to about it? Do you have some friends or family that you might be able to stay with for a little while? Go through a process where you logically workshop through all the things that you can do to manage your current situation.
I attacked my fear with practicality. My strategy was quite logical and practical and because of that, I was able to manage what I was experiencing and come up with a solution. It was really empowering when my fear disappeared.
- Ask: is it true?
When we make out that things are bigger than what they actually are, we are also making the monster bigger. The monster becomes bigger and bigger. Have a look at your ‘monster’ and think, is that actually true? Is that actually going to happen? 9 out of 10 times it won’t. Sometimes by looking at it logically and realising that the story you’re telling yourself isn’t actually true will make all the difference. The fear will disappear once you realise this.
- Stay in the moment
When you’re in the moment, fear isn’t there. Fear is in the future. If you connect to the peace, love and joy and the emotions at present, then that keeps the fear at bay. The more often you can do that, the better you become at managing fear.
One way you can do this is by starting and ending your day with a gratitude practice. Start your day with gratitude. And every night, the last thing you do before you go to sleep, is to think about gratitude three things that you're grateful for.
Keep yourself in the present moment, and you keep yourself feeling that feeling of gratitude. The more time you spend focusing on gratitude, the less space there is for fear to move in.
- Put fear in the passenger seat
The trick is for you to get in the driver’s seat. Put fear in the passenger seat. Kick them out of the car if you want to.
I read a book a few years ago called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. There's a concept that I've heard recently, which is called “do it afraid”. Essentially they’re saying that it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay.
Most people who have to do public speaking have that fear. Speaking at a funeral is something most people don’t want to do. Many times it has been said that they “would rather be in the box than giving the eulogy.”
You’re going to acknowledge that fear and you’re going to face it. You’re going to push past that fear. That gives you enormous power and freedom. You’re in control, fear no longer controls you.
It’s a great strategy for managing the types of fears that affect you on a long term basis, for example, the fear of public speaking, going on a plane, or the fear of heights. Simply put that fear in the passenger seat, and you take control.
These five strategies are applicable to pretty much any fear that's going to come up for you. You choose which strategy you want to use for the specific fear that you are having problems with on that day. You may choose to use several of the strategies if it’s a very strong fear. It may be a bit of a trial and error at the beginning but you’ll soon find out what works for you and what doesn’t.
I’ve created a fear strategy workbook for you. Just simply go to the Coach Mel website, and you can download the free workbook. it lists the five different fear strategies and some ideas on how you might apply those strategies to a fear in your life.
You will then be able to work through the fear that you are dealing with, and make some notes and develop a strategy to help you manage with that fear.
Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you soon.