Facing Fear – Part 4

“Freedom lies in being bold.”

Robert Frost

This is the final part of the getting started guide. Whatever you read or do from now on, there is one immutable fact when finding calm. You have to face fear. Whatever it is, no matter how awful it appears to be, you have to look it square in the eye. There is no rush to do this and you can take it at your own pace, but if you want to overcome what ails you, you have to see it for what it is and walk through it. The reason for this, is because 99% of the time, what you are afraid of is only your mind trying to protect you.

There is a great acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real

The way humans work, the more you see, hear and experience, the more there is stored for use later. Couple that with our amazing imaginations, and a natural incline toward negativity and thinking the worst, and you have a recipe for Stress, Anxiety and Panic. Especially as your imagination can be really creative.

If you note the techniques I discuss on this site, you will notice each of them involve facing your fear. Mindfulness, you allow the thoughts and feelings. TRE – you allow the feeling and allow yourself to let go. Tapping – you aim at what bothers you and so on…

If you remember in the previous parts, the story of Jan and the snake. The minute you run away, your brain knows and will make the fear worse next time as that is what you are telling it through your actions. If you suppress your feelings, stuff them down, then they will either manifest in a different way like physical pain, or they will come back with a vengeance at a future point.

“Memories, buried alive, never die”

Normal memories get archived safely away in your subconscious. No matter the event, they get filed neatly away. If you have trauma / stress / anxiety however, that memory does not get archived and stays with the emotional feeling you had at the time. Sometimes your body feels it is the time to deal with it and will bring it up for resolution, other times you’ll see or hear something and get triggered. When this happens it is an opportunity for you to face your fear.

Imagine you are on a road and the path in front of you divides, the left path is clear but is filled with danger, poisonous snakes, fire, the right path is overgrown but calm. Which path do you take? The left path is the well trodden path to stress and worry, that’s why it’s clear. The right path is overgrown but leads to peace and calm. As humans we are pre-disposed on auto-pilot to take the left path. We can choose to take the right path though.

The reason mindfulness is the first technique I posted, is because with the skills it teaches you, you recognise what is happening and are more likely to not run away, it gives you a choice. The other techniques re-enforce that choice, clearing the path further.

Use your choice, choose calm.

“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