Fear is like a vice gripping your soul and refusing to let it go, day after day. It’s a weight that sits atop your shoulders and bubbles forth from your core. You’re trapped in a spiritual hell. You’ve been walking through this sludge for so long that you have no idea what life without fear and anxiety, at least not anymore, and if you’re not careful, it can rise over and suffocate you.
But you go on living like normal. In your daily life, you are a kind, even-tempered person who gets along well, with a job, coworkers, a family, a partner, friends.
There’s a disconnect between what your peers know about you and how you feel about life.
This describes more people than some might know.
You might think this is a manageable way to live. But how many times have you given up because of your fear and anxiety? How many times has it overcome you? And most importantly: what could you be doing without fear?
Who exists without fear or anxiety? Fear is what keeps people alive – without fear of consequences we neglect to avoid danger. It’s like a dashboard light – a warning that tells us what we need to do to keep going.
But the mind is imaginative. There are things we see in our heads that don’t represent the reality around us, and all are shaped by our unique experiences as human beings – our traumas, what we value, what we want to keep safe.
The brain develops pathways in response to new formative experiences that make us feel and see things in response to it. Everyone has periods of sensitivity and sponge-like instant learning at different developmental points of our lives. If something happens to us during that time? It can change us forever.
What AM I afraid of?
Most people aren’t afraid of real danger – sometimes we’re afraid of things that barely even could be dangerous. Our brains and culture have evolved to understand social rejection as a danger, for instance, because we rely on our social lives so much for our care that we feel rejection as a hit to our worth and a detriment to our ability to be.
There are many things I’ve held back because I was afraid of what people would think of me. That’s ridiculous – what’s the worst thing that could happen? People see me and my views of spirituality every day and assume things about me that aren’t true. But none have ever managed to hurt me.
Rejection, discomfort, hurt, and fear itself are all things we fear. All are things everyone has felt and overcome at least once in their life.
How much fear and anxiety are fear of danger, and how much is fear of the past?
Many people think reactions to trauma happen on a graduating scale, where worse experiences amount to worse reactions. Not all of us react “appropriately” to our experiences; for some, something you could laugh off is something that would severely damage another.
All people experience microtraumas. All people have had their lives affected one way or another by something, and don’t know it.
Oftentimes it’s those things that make us what we are today – cautious. Afraid. Wondering what will happen next. Things that hold us back from making the changes to our lives that we need to make to thrive. How often have you declined an opportunity for fear of how it could go wrong?
Whether it’s your treatment by family, by school peers, by circumstances or poverty – it made you who you were today.
And you can rise above it.
Unhelpful fear works against you when you imagine what could be happening, as opposed to what’s happening right in front of you. How can we act against our powerful imaginations?
How to work with your fear and anxiety:
Sometimes, even if an upsetting conclusion seems reasonable at the time, you can take steps to disprove it to yourself.
- Write it out. Seeing your thoughts where you can review them makes it easier to take a critical eye.
- Ask yourself if it’s happening at that very moment. The answer is likely no. Pull your awareness towards the here and now. Touch things in your immediate vicinity and know that you’re alive right now.
- Ask yourself if it’s likely to happen. The answer may be no. If it is likely, such as an earthquake occurring in a high-earthquake area, ask yourself what you can do to prepare for it – and remind yourself that the real thing is not always so disastrous.
- Think about how you’ve overcome all the trials of your life so far – and made it out alive and secure.
- When you find yourself imagining a scary scenario in your mind, gently remind yourself that your imagination can lead to suffering, then pull your awareness and attention back to the present moment.
Meditation is an extraordinarily valuable way to explore the inner processes that make your fear and anxiety happen. We all have those neurons firing in the background, painting the backdrop to our conscious thoughts. Meditation brings those things to the surface and helps us detangle the cords that power our mind.
Meditation is to enjoy the flow of reality and to seek comfort in the river of life. It’s a great reminder of the inherent safety and security we have just by existing here, now, in this space. Spiritual healing has been used for generations to aid in the evaporation of your unhealthy fear and anxiety, and there’s no reason not to take up that mantle now.
So sit, relax, put on your favorite calming music and keep the above steps in mind. There’s little better you can do for yourself than work on yourself, which in turn will help raise your consciousness.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you have any favorite ways to counteract daily fear and anxiety – all are appreciated!