Fear is absolutely necessary for our survival but nowadays, as we don’t have to worry about sabre tooth tigers lurking around every corner, it has more time on it's hands. Understandably, that makes fear hyperactive and overeager but just because we understand it’s excess of energy, it doesn’t make it any less annoying that it yaps at every shadow and rustling leaf like a chihuahua with a Napoleon complex.
This hyperactivity makes it difficult to distinguish when our actions are motivated by legitimate concerns versus an involuntary, knee-jerk reaction. Even if we manage to determine that fear is being a dramatic worrywart, that doesn’t mean that the anxiety magically subsides. It’s not as easily convinced. It’s sweet in an overprotective, wake-you-up-at-6am-to-tell-you-to-check-the-peephole-before-opening-the-door kind of way (thanks, Mom) but fear isn’t going to back down just because you assure it that you have twenty-four hour security in your building.
Here are 6 Methods To Help Master Fear Immediately:
01/ MEDITATE ON THE DAILY
If you’re rolling your eyes, I can relate because I felt the same. Mostly I didn’t want to sacrifice precious sleep time but committing to ten minutes in the morning is a small price to pay for setting the foundation for a calmer day. In addition to shooting a tranquilizer dart at fear, it can also improve focus and memory. There are thousands of free meditations, talks, music tracks, and courses to choose from on the Insight Timer app but so far, I prefer guided meditation with affirmations like Morning Meditation with Music, led by Jonathan Lehman.
02/ RELEASE THE BEAST
I never really understood why I kept a diary until Joan Didion articulated it in the quote “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” When I experience fear, my thoughts swarm around in my consciousness, formless and unruly until I call them to order on the page. It’s a safe place to own to fears you’re ashamed to admit aloud and when they’re on paper, suddenly they don’t seem as scary. As essential as keeping a journal is to me, I get that writing it not as appealing to everyone and in that case, confiding in friends and family will achieve the same goal.
03/ GROUND YOURSELF
Fear has a way of isolating you, not only from friends and family, but from yourself. It waits until you are vulnerable and uses that moment of weakness to swoop in and insert self-doubt in to your mind. Grounding yourself in who you are – your strengths, goals, blessings – is the mental equivalent to donning armour to protect yourself. It reminds you that fear has not actually changed you or your reality and that fear is an illusion that will pass like a storm cloud in your otherwise blue skies.
04/ SEEK DISCOMFORT
They say the way to boil a frog is to slowly increase the heat so that it doesn’t notice. I have no idea if that’s true or why you’d want to boil a frog in the first place except to serve as a metaphor for adaptation. If fear had it’s way, it would keep you like a domesticated pet, safety tucked away in a cage, living within your comfort zone. If you seek discomfort on a regular basis, fear becomes accustomed to the sensation and is less likely to lose it’s crackers over every little perceived threat.
05/ FACE YOUR FEARS
Sometimes the only thing to do when something is chasing you is to stop running and face your problems head on. Obviously this does not apply to if the thing chasing you is a bear or a serial killer (RUN!). Evading our fears only magnifies them and inevitably it will overcome us when we are out of breath and at our weakest. Acknowledging it takes it’s power away and the more often you do to this, the quicker you will rewire your brain so that this fear will cease to darken your doorstep.
06/ TAKE ACTION
When we have a problem, nothing feels worse than helplessly twiddling our thumbs and waiting for a resolution. While it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to diminish our anxieties in one foul swoop, take back some control from fear by making small steps towards solving the issue. If your fear is getting so obese that you won’t be able to fit out the door, taking action as small as switching from soda to water will alleviate some stress because you feel like you’re doing something.