What Are You Afraid Of - Can You Handle It?May 25, 2013
Do you fear. . .
Injuring your body or suffering pain while participating in sports or activity (e.g. cycling, walking, cooking, weight lifting, gardening…)?
Losing your job and having to relocate?
Being last or not finishing an athletic event you have signed-up for?
In the past few weeks I have heard all these expressed. Of course some fear is healthy and keeps us safe. Many of our fears, however, are internally generated, can be detrimental, and hold us back.
What is fear? In her book Feel the Fear …and Do It Anyway Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. describes three fear levels. At the core of each fear, she explains is the belief that “You can’t handle whatever life may bring you.” Reviewing the above questions then, you can’t handle an injury or physical pain, finding a new job, failure in athletics?
What if you could handle it? What would there be to fear then?
According to Susan Jeffers, “All you have to do to diminish your fear is develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way! … (This) knowledge … is the key to allowing yourself to take healthy, life-affirming risks.”
Six action steps to build your confidence and ability to handle it all.
Move from Pain to Power
When you are in a position of power – choice, energy, and action – you are taking responsibility for your life. When you are in a position of pain – helplessness, depression, and paralysis – you are a victim without control.
Realize that everything in your life is a choice. And you can change it!
Develop an empowering vocabulary eliminating words like “I should” and “I can’t.”
Negativity decreases your power and increases your fear. Just like exercise, a positive mental outlook needs to be trained consistently.
I heard Barbara Fredrickson, a leader in the positive emotions field, speak at a conference. Her research demonstrated a positivity ratio of 3 positives/1 negative allows us to flourish in our lives. She describes a positive mind set as being open, appreciative, curious, kind, and real. Use her Positivity Self Test to discover and track changes in your mood.
There are many techniques – affirmations, inspirational music and CDs, books, meditation, quotes. . . Find what works for you and make it a regular part of your life.
Make No-Lose Decisions
There is a learning opportunity awaiting you on each side of every decision. Therefore, you cannot make a mistake! “You’re not a failure if you don’t make it; you’re a success because you try.”
Nurture Your Whole Life
Suffering a personal loss – job, spouse, health – can create great anxiety and fear especially when your life is not in balance.
Jeffers recommends creating a Whole Life Grid with nine boxes each representing an important component of your life (e.g. work, leisure, family, sports, personal growth…). She explains that the “Magic Duo” for each area is 100% commitment and acting as if you count. Nurturing each area of your life will reduce your fear and make it easier if one component is lost.
Say YES to Possibility
“Saying YES means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.”
How to say YES
- Realize you are saying no
- Nod your head and say YES
- Think – “It’s all happening perfectly. Let’s see what good I can create from this situation.”
- Practice patience with yourself
Give Without Expectations
Relying on others to meet your needs reduces your power and adds to your fear of survival, scarcity, and lack. Placing expectations on receiving often results in disappointment and reinforces these fears, creating feelings of being used and not getting enough back.
According to Jeffers people who are fearful can’t give genuinely. She suggests giving away thanks, time, information, praise, money, and ultimately love.
“To love is to be able to give. And now is the time to begin.”
Source: Feel the Fear...And Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
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