Eight Ways To Help You Feel Less Fearful

Courage is knowing what not to fear. Plato

Fear is running rampant in these troubled times as we face the Covid-19 virus and all the upheaval it’s causing. Some healthy fear and a good dose of caution is warranted. Here are tips to help you keep manage your fears: 

  1. Stay informed but know when to step away from news of all kinds. Be aware of how much information is too much for you then have the discipline to step away. 
  2. Get yourself out of the way. Consider what you can do, either virtually or in person, for those who may be more affected than you. 
  3. Take care of yourself. Keep up your healthy routine including good sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and a spiritual practice (especially if your place of worship is closed).
  4. Acknowledge your fear. Validate your feelings. Treat that scared little girl inside gently.
  5. Make a plan. Create a to do list (i.e. clean out the closets, make soup) and consider how you’d handle a health emergency. Planning is more useful to help you gain a sense of control than buying more toilet paper.
  6. Keep in touch. Call a friend or family member if you’re feeling lonely. Keep your extended family informed. Email and texting may not be as satisfying as they once were. It’s nice to hear a loved one’s voice when we are isolated.
  7. Trust yourself. In my experience people generally have a greater capacity to handle hardship than they think they do. Affirm your capabilities!
  8. Fear not! The words “fear not” show up in the Bible 365 times for a reason.

Affirmation: I trust myself and my capabilities.

Coaching questions: Who can you turn to for support right now? What can you do to help others? How will you use this time “away” productively?

Please note: If you are feeling severely depressed, anxious, or fearful, seek professional help. If you think a few minutes talking on the phone with a Certified Life Coach would be helpful, let me know in the comments section below. 

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Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Feeling Anxious? Check the Facts

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. Arthur Somers Roche, American author

In my experience, most daughters who have experienced early mother loss are significantly impacted by the anniversary date of their mother’s death. Many have anxiety and are fearful that they might die early like their mother. Others, feel guilty that they are surpassing how long she lived.

One thing daughters may find helpful to ease their feelings of anxiety around the anniversary date is knowing that scientific research suggests that the parents’ longevity doesn’t correlate directly with the longevity of their children. James Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, writes, Only three percent of how long you’ll live, compared with the average, is explained by your parents’ longevity. By contrast, up to ninety percent of how tall you are is explained by your parents’ height. Even genetically identical twins vary widely in life span: the typical gap is more than fifteen years. 

Affirmation: I accept the facts that help me face my fear and anxiety.   

Coaching questions: What causes you to feel anxious? How do you keep this trickle of fear from creating a channel in your mind? If you’re coming up to the age your mother was when she died, how will you deal with your anxiety and celebrate your future? 

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Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

Three Steps to Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela

They tell us that the number one fear is public speaking, which frequently masks  the fear of rejection. That’s not my fear but I’ll trust the facts. I’d speak to a big group anytime rather than drive or ride down an Interstate highway. Here are a few tips for those of you who do fear public speaking:

1. Start out small. Practice by asking a question in a committee meeting or book club. Stand up and introduce yourself when given the opportunity.

2. When you graduate to a larger venue, focus on what you’re giving the audience rather than how the audience may be judging you. View your speaking as an act of generosity.

3. Affirm yourself prior to speaking by saying things like, “I am confident and competent.” Take a deep breath, feel the fear, then do it anyway. A certain amount of nervousness keeps you on your toes. 

Affirmation: I can conquer my fears.

Coaching questions: What frightens you? Is it holding you back from achieving your dreams or goals? What’s one step you will take today to overcome your fear? 

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Who Dares Wins

Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy Retired from his book, Make Your Bed.

“Who Dares Wins” was the motto of the British Special Air Service, the famed SAS. According to McRaven, the motto was so admired that it was quoted by the commander moments before the bin Laden raid.

 I often asked my coaching clients, “What would you do with your life if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Living life out of fear—of failure or what other’s might think—inhibits potential and contribution. Dare to take risks, feel the fear and doing it anyway. 

Affirmation: I am courageous. 

Coaching questions: What is holding you back from living your best life? What’s one daring thing you will do this week to become your best self? Perhaps it is speaking up on a controversial topic, severing a toxic relationship, taking a class, changing your hair color, starting to workout at the gym, asking someone you’ve just met to lunch. Start where you are then step out of your zone.

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Stay Off the Path to the Dark Side

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Master Yoda

As daughters who have experienced tragic mother loss, especially through early loss, abandonment, or murder, we have experienced fear at some level. Fear for our very survival, fear of the future, fear of losing another parent and many others.

It is only when we overcome our fears and, perhaps, our anger and hate, that we can truly flourish and lead our best life. There has been enough suffering, let’s not inflict it upon ourselves by embracing our fears. Let’s move away from the dark side. 

Affirmation: I’m fearless.

Coaching questions: What fears do you have that need releasing? Name two, be specific. What is one step you will take to move away from this dark side of living?

 

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Conquering Our Fears

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two days ago, we celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday although he died in 2013. Mandela spent twenty seven years in prison, arrested for his fight against the white-only government that established apartheid, a system of extreme racial segregation in South Africa. He is widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice.

Frequently we think of folks who accomplish heroic deeds as fearless but my guess is, as Mandela suggests, these heroes are as afraid as the rest of us. The difference is they feel the fear and do it anyway. I read this line many years ago and have repeated it often to myself when I’m feeling unwarranted fear. It bears repeating….feel the fear and do it anyway.

Affirmation: I can triumph over my fears.

Coaching questions: What causes you unwarranted fear (some fear is positive of course–healthy fear keeps us alive)? Remember a time you conquered a fear.  How did you feel?

 

You Did What?

Confrontation is a healthy avenue for you to stand up for yourself and your beliefs–to be heard and not silenced by inaction or fear. From The Chopra Center newsletter, article by Melissa Eisler

I will admit it… confrontation is my Achille”s heel. I’m discovering that my childhood fear of abandonment which I have brought forward with me is the root of my difficulty with confrontation. The little girl inside of me thinks, “If I confront this person about what is making me angry, they will retaliate by emotionally abandoning me or, worse, leaving me altogether.” The irony is, if one doesn’t confront, resentment builds and physical or emotional leaving takes place because there was NO confrontation. So…my logical conclusion is, as difficult and scary as it may feel, constructive confrontation is worth it.

Being mindful of your beliefs, clearly communicating where you stand, and speaking with objectivity rather than letting your emotions drive your responses is a start.

Affirmation: I am able to confront when necessary.

Coaching questions: What keeps you from confronting? What is it costing you not to confront? What steps can you take to confront in a meaningful and mindful way?