I hope you are doing well. I hope you have some reasons to smile. I hope you have some opportunities to look forward to. And even if you feel you don't, it's okay. Step out into the balcony right now, open your arms wide right now, look at the sky above, and tell the universe "I trust your intelligence. I know you have plans for me." Do this when you can (now if possible). It's a very powerful gesture. If you do it often enough, it will rewire your brain and instil in you the power that only faith can. Faith overcomes fear.
Fear is a physical phenomenon. I feel fear in the form of a raised heartbeat, pressure at the center of my chest, a sinking feeling, sweaty palms, etc. In fact all emotions are physical. You feel them somewhere in your body. Thoughts in your brain trigger certain chemicals to be released in your blood stream, which are then experienced by us as emotions.
This is an important thing to understand. That which is physical, is easy to identify and to become aware of. If fear manifests for you in the form of sweaty palms, it easy to shift your awareness and attention to your sweaty palms. Where-ever the emotions of fear manifests physically in your body, just shift all your attention to that spot.
But shouldn't I take my mind away from the fear?
Yes you should. You do exactly that when you focus on the physical sensation of fear rather than the thoughts that are triggering the fear. Our brain and body communicate in two different languages - one is the language of thoughts that speaks with words, and the other is the language of emotions and communicates through physical sensations.
Understanding this has helped me create a huge shift in the way I handle fear. I used to focus far too much only on the language of thoughts - the things that actually trigger the emotions. By shifting my focus to emotions - physical sensations - I learned to shift my attention away from thoughts.
The fear triggering thoughts are nothing by habitual (and incorrect) thinking patterns that repeat endlessly in a loop inside our head. In fact, we should not even call them thoughts. Thoughts are intentional and purposeful. These fear triggering 'thoughts' are just like toxic waste that comes out of a chocolate factory. The chocolates are the intentional and creative thoughts we have. And, the waste and sewage that comes out is the toxic overthinking we end up doing.
We all ought to install waste management systems in the factory of our thoughts.
Here are six ideas that help me deal with fear.
CURIOSITY always gets the better of fear. Seen horror movies? What gets the protagonist to open the that closet, venture into that graveyard, or step down into the attic? It’s also what made Christopher Columbus get on to that boat and make that journey. What lies on the other side? I am starting to get curious about what could happen if I scheduling daily time to start actively writing the book that I've been speaking about writing for months!
IMAGINATION is what makes human beings different from the rest of the animal kingdom. We can close our eyes and transport ourselves into a different world. We can see images, movies, sounds, and even feel feelings. We can embrace a different reality. This enables us to engage in ‘possibility thinking’. Yes, it s possible that I will fail, but it's also possible that I will succeed like crazy. Currently I’m thinking about possibilities to empower a youth revolution using digital technologies like mobile apps, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
WORST CASE SCENARIOS have been the war room tool chest for managers and military generals for ages. If everything goes wrong, if nothing goes my way, what is the worst that can happen. Make a written list of the worst possible outcomes. Now look at them carefully. How bad are they in reality? How long will it take me to bounce back? Are there ways to mitigate their impact. Which ones can be prevented by taking some precautionary steps? Chances are, the tide of fear will soon recede.
STORIES are the bits and bytes of the human soul. Stories of worry and doubt feed the fear, and stories of courage and learning take away the fear. The question is, which stories do I choose to remember? Which are the stories in my life where I faced my fear, and came out stronger, more confident and happier? I always choose to make these stories my heroes. They give me confidence. A few years ago I thought we'll never be launch a year long educational program for youth without any university association. But we did. I’m capable to take big leaps in my life! Now, ready, steady… GO!
INNER CIRCLE. People oscillate between two modes. One where courage is higher than fear, and one where fear is more than courage. Who are the people who are surrounding me? What is the overall fear to courage ratio of people in my inner circle? This is going to have the single largest impact on my courage levels. I have made a positive decision to find, engage with, and surround myself with people who have courage! What say, shall we be friends? 😃
A SENSE OF PURPOSE becomes the rudder when my ship is moving and an anchor when there is a storm. When I know where I want to go, and why I want to go there, it makes all the obstacles seem like mere bumps. Bumps will be there, but I will overcome. As I look back at my life, whenever I have had clarity about ‘Why?’, things have always fallen beautifully into place. I just leave the ‘When?’ to HIM, and do what needs to be done NOW.
Fear is a physical sensation, and focusing on it takes attention away from the fear triggering thoughts, and hence brings your mind into a state where you can actually do something the issue that you are fearful of.
If you are interested, check out these links to learn how to do a body scan meditation that will help you shift attention away from thoughts to physical sensations.
How to do body scan meditation: https://www.healthline.com/health/body-scan-meditation
8 minute body scan guided meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2yDmWk0vs
I hope you get a chance to try it.
Like I always, by reading, you give meaning to my writing. You give me meaning. Thank you, and wishing you a life of 'fearlessness'!