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Facing Your Fear

We’ve all felt it – fear.  It can do all kinds of things to us, impacting our thoughts and behaviors in uncomfortable ways.  Fear is an emotional experience, and one that is universal.  Most of us don’t enjoy the feeling of fear, because it often comes along with an increase in anxiety, stress, or anger.  Fear can teach us a lot about ourselves, though … what we’re afraid of, what we’re seeking, what we’re ambitious about, what we’re lacking, and what we hope for.  Instead of running away from our fears, we can actually benefit from taking a closer look at its origins.  We can get to know ourselves better by examining our fears, thereby tapping into our own resilience.

So, why do we feel fear?  Fear is an emotion that arises when we experience a threat to our own personal safety, whether it be emotional or physical.  It can be caused by a tangible trigger, or by a less-obvious thought that can sometimes be hard to pinpoint.  Nonetheless, fear causes a heightened desire to protect ourselves, which can manifest in all sorts of ways:  feeling like you want to hide or run away, feeling like you’re paralyzed or stuck, or feeling like you’re falling deep into “panic mode.”  When these sorts of emotional patterns start taking shape, you might notice that you’re no longer living in the moment, and may find it difficult to be mindful of the present.  An avoidance mechanism can develop, which takes you away from the very thing you may need to be proactively addressing for yourself.  When you habitually notice yourself becoming consumed by a spiraling emotion, or a pattern that takes you outside of your current reality, this often serves as a signal that it’s time to take a pause and assess if something in your life needs to change.

Just like all emotions, fear is transient.  It comes and goes for all of us.  Many of our fears are manifested in our thoughts, and learning how to take control of such thoughts is a process.  Here are some suggestions that can serve as a springboard to help you get back on track when it comes to facing your fears:

  1. Acknowledge and accept that fear is present
  2. Learn to tolerate it’s presence 
  3. Identify and implement healthy coping tools to overcome the feeling 
  4. Move towards finding suitable and positive solutions

The above recommendations are not necessarily a linear process, as everyone’s situation is very different.  If you’d like more focused help with addressing your fears, working with a professionally trained therapist can be a safe, comfortable, positive outlet for self-discovery.  Have any questions?  Feel free to ask!  

 

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