To fear is to be human.
Fear is first provoked in the amygdala, the primal part of our brain that is hardwired for our protection and survival. Fearful thoughts immediately activate our ‘fight-freeze-flight’ stress response, releasing an uncomfortable cascade of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol.
Underlying most of our mental health struggles is debilitating fear. For example, there is the fear of not coping, the fear of not recovering, the fear of being humiliated, the fear of going off medication and the fear of being misunderstood.
Fear is an uncomfortable feeling we experience in our body. Where do you usually feel fear?
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Tightness in your jaw, neck, shoulders or chest
- Dry mouth or excessive perspiration
- Hands shaking
- Rapid heart rate, rapid breathing and/or dizziness
1. Know your fear
Everyone is afraid of something:
- Public speaking
- The unknown
What is your greatest fear?
How is fear serving you?
Think about how fear has impacted your life. Think about the times fear has consumed, hindered and paralysed you.
2. Face your fear
In most cases, we cannot experience anything new without first experiencing fear; e.g. starting a new business or a different type of church, writing a book or learning to skydive.
What are you putting off because of fear?
Consider this new approach to fear: feel your fear and do it afraid.
Lean into fear
Feel the fear: feel the apprehension, disorientation, dread and distress. Where do you feel fear in your body?
Be grateful: thank your amygdala for doing its job and looking out for you
Lean into courage
Your feeling of fear is uncomfortable and that’s OK
Your feeling of fear is temporary
Feel courage: feel the empowering spirit and emotion of overcoming
Fear not, for I AM with you… (Isiah 41:10)
Lean into curiosity
Slow down your breathing
Imagine crossing over to the other side of fear
Imagine turning your fear into focus
Do it afraid: step out with courageous vulnerability and embrace the new
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