Managing Fear

Managing Fear….taking control of the worry

The concept of sitting with your own fears can be a strange concept to most people.  It’s uncomfortable and it can seemingly create more worry thoughts.  Some level of fear is being felt by many people of ALL ages around the globe right now…..AND that is NORMAL. 

Why?  This is an abnormal event. Let me say that again and louder: THIS IS AN ABNORMAL EVENT.  It can, and for most, will disrupt our everyday routine, our usual thinking patterns, and how we behave to name a few.  We as humans, are wired to respond to one of our basic emotions….fear.  It is a part of our body’s way to get us to respond in some manner, preferably to protect ourselves (fight, flight, freeze). 

This state of hyper arousal can be experienced in many different ways and to varying degrees within each individual.  This can include, but not be limited to:

  • overwhelming thoughts at once or persistently throughout the day
  • feeling irritable or restless
  • a lack of focus in work, with conversations or even during down time
  • disruption in sleep
  • general feeling of fatigue

If you feel like some of this is familiar within yourself, it is important to take inventory.  Take a brief moment to notice what thoughts you have. 

In that moment, ask yourself:

“what category do my thoughts fall into: rational or emotional?”

 “how balanced are my thoughts right now?”

When you are able to do this, you begin the process of taking back control over your worry-based thoughts.  This is a process and 100% relief may not be felt immediately (I’m pinging the perfectionistic side of you right now), but you may begin to slowly notice how you are able to slightly shift your thoughts to make them more manageable.  This is the goal….managing ‘all of this’. 

Here are a few steps you can take to manage:

  • Take time in your day to check in with yourself and notice what you are thinking and how are you feeling.  Realistically, this can happen over a few moments.  Ideally, it would happen in a quiet space, but let’s be real and this may need to happen while you’re at a stop light or walking about to your next destination, taking a shower or eating a meal. 
  • Take the moments you can give for this to check in and ask yourself:

“how balanced are my thoughts right now?” 

“are they more emotional?”

“do I have any rational thoughts?” 

If you find that your thoughts are unbalanced go further

  • Begin to ask yourself:

“what are some rational thoughts I can have to create more balance?”

example emotional thought: “I’m worried I may get this!”

example rational thought: “How can I plan and prepare if I do get this?”

Balancing your thoughts is NOT intended to erase the emotional thoughts…balancing allows for both and balance allows for you to have the ability to take back control of the worry-based thoughts instead of them controlling you.


What are triggers?

Being self aware takes practice and once you begin to work towards training your brain to meet that goal, you will begin to notice that because you live life, there will be many sensory triggers that can cause both negative and positive thoughts and feelings.  It is important to become aware of what some of our own personal triggers are, both helpful and unhelpful.

Triggers are sensory, meaning that memories both good and bad have triggers that are rooted in: sounds, smells, visuals, tastes, textures and temperatures.

They can be positive and soothing for you, ie: fresh baked goods, fresh air, etc. They can also be negative, ie: voices yelling, harsh lights, loud noises, etc. Triggers tend to remind you of an experience.

These triggers can add to your daily dose of stress and impact your ability to function.  Once you begin training your brain, you will be better at noticing them and developing strategies to minimize the impact they have on your life.

Why is life stress a big deal?

Life stress impacts us all, whether it’s good or bad stress.  Either way, when stress is perceived our body physiologically responds by releasing stress chemicals.  This release is automatic.  It’s part of the ‘fight v. flight’ response.  It is innate and vital to our survival.  Where it can become a problem is when this release of stress chemicals does not stop, overtime, our bodies get worn down and begin to let you know it can no longer handle the amount of stress.

This can happen in 2 ways: psychologically and physiologically.

Psychological symptoms include:  inability to concentrate, irritability, restlessness, decreased critical thinking skills, short term memory impairment, inability to ‘wind down’ or relax, etc.

Physiological symptoms include: poor sleep, poor eating habits, increase in stomach acid production, increase in production of insulin, damage to cells, decrease in immune system, triggering or exacerbation of current medical problems or conditions, etc.

All of these put you at risk for:

1.) making poor decisions at a critical time

2.) increased risk taking behaviors

3.) increase in physical discomfort, need to see a physician, etc.

  • enhance your cognitive functioning
  • keep you functioning at your highest potential
  • empower your personal life needs to achieve your goals
  • improve your work environment
  • increase productivity and quality of life in your and your staff