Managing fear with mindfulness can help you move past feeling stuck.
The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
― Stephen King
My 5 year old son recently watched a super hero film that featured a formidable villain. This was not the first time that my son has seen a fictional bad guy. But this one really scared him. As a result, my son does not want to be left alone. This has been stressful for me, his big sister, and the other adults in his life.
Things he used to be able to do on his own such as grab a toy from the other room or use the bathroom by himself, my son no longer has the courage to do. He feels stuck and this frustration, on top of the fear, causes tears. When fear goes unchecked for too long it can trigger other emotions like anger or shame.
In the long run I am not too worried as I am sure that he will be able to use the bathroom alone by the time he goes to college. However, in the mean time, I have an opportunity to teach him some life lessons in how to manage fear. This situation causes me to think of my personal relationship with fear.
We all get afraid. When I am afraid, I try to listen to what the fear wants to tell me. Sometimes, the fear warns me of valid danger (such as avoid walking alone down that unlit street). Other times the fear is just a feeling that is keeping me from doing something that I need to do or want to do. For example, when I am about to write a new post or meet a new client, I notice feeling afraid that I might fail.
When the situation is the latter, if I can get past the first few moments of being afraid, then I am usually o.k. Actually I feel better than o.k., I feel proud of myself for doing what I needed to do, even though I was afraid.
Managing fear with mindfulness is a clever use of a tool that is free and available to all – our attention. The following articles give practical advice on how to pay attention to the fear we are feeling in a way that is productive. Mindfulness helps us to hear what fear wants to tell us and to carry on despite the fear, when it makes sense to do so.
Fear comes in many forms: dread, debilitating anxiety, nervous laughter, or sweaty palms. For each of us fear may show up differently in our bodies. Managing fear with mindfulness helps us to better identify the beginnings of fear in our own bodies so that we can manage it before it becomes too hard to control and spirals into other negative emotions.
See the following articles on managing fear with mindfulness:
Transform Your Fears Mindfully: Fear is a part of everyday life. Read that again. Fear is part of everyday life. It’s always lurking around, threatening us, horrifying us, on bad days crippling us, and on good days simply annoying us. – by Carolyn Gimian – http://www.mindful.org/transform-your-fears-mindfully/
Lean in to Your Fears Using Mindfulness: Fear is primal. And essential for survival. It’s highly energetic, and even exhilarating. Lots of people love horror movies, and kids (young and old) get a huge kick out of scaring each other. But fear is no joke. – by Mindful Staff – http://www.mindful.org/lean-in-to-your-fears-using-mindfulness/
Remedies for Your Anxious Mind: On a bad day—and those can come one after another—every little thing can drive us to distraction. We’re itchy, antsy, pulling our hair out, too jumpy to even meditate. Next time your brain gets knotted up, consider these suggestions. – by Elisha Goldstein, Stefanie Goldstein – http://www.mindful.org/remedies-for-your-anxious-mind/
Do you have a story about managing fear with mindfulness? Encourage others with your story and leave a comment at the end of this post.
Stacie Hoffmeister is an organizational coach and branding professional. She is the founder of organizational coaching firm, Facts and Heresies. Facts and Heresies helps individuals step up into their next level of personal and professional potential. Based in the New York, NY and Westchester County, NY area, Stacie serves individual professionals and organizations in her area and all over the world.