Debbie's Blog

Fear Factor

August 19th, 2011

With all the recent talk of deficit spending, unemployment rates, a jittery stock market, and home equities falling I’ve been thinking about the fear factor that many Americans as well as other global communities are experiencing. So this month I am going to be talking about how to deal with the fear in your life and relationships.

Fear is really designed to warn you fear is not meant to forbid you. It means to warn you for early preparation. Fear tells you to think twice before you launch into an adventure. It gives you time or another chance to prepare so that you can be better equipped the next time around. This is the correct perspective on fear. However, it’s not always limited to just equipping us. Often fear is something we create without real cause.

Types of Fear

Because not all fears are created equal lets start by talking about two distinctly different types of fears. First, we’ll talk about Fear 1 . This is the fear that comes up when we or someone we love is in clear and present danger. For example; you see your child riding her bicycle into the path of a car on a busy street or you are approached by a stranger who demands your purse or wallet. This fear prepares us for peak performance and mobilizes your whole body for effective action. The first thing we notice is our heart beat rises in reaction to the adrenaline dump. Then, the fight or flight feeling comes in as a natural primal response to what is happening, enabling us to react with more strength and acuity so that we can escape the calamity.

Now I like to playfully refer to Fear 2 as Chicken Little fear. Remember how Chicken Little cried, “The sky is falling the sky is falling”The acronym that relates well with this is type of fear is:





This is the fear of what we imagine…or the story we might be telling ourselves. For example we might tell ourselves, “I maybe the next in the office to get laid off.” or “My relationship just broke up and I know I’ll never find anyone to love again.” We can find ourselves fearful about money, our future, our health, our children’s future on and on. The list is endless. Unfortunately this kind of fear grows and magnifies. It takes even the smallest concern and turns into an impending catastrophe. When we allow our minds to constantly engage in this kind of fear and worry we have enormous stress and emotional vulnerability. Then stress and takes it toll on our bodies, causes waves of emotions, frustration and the loss of joy and many times hope. Chicken Little fear can actually trick our body into reacting chemically with an imagined fear to the same extent as the fear that comes up while being mugged. Unfortunately, this fear can be debilitating, immobilizing and lead to isolation and depression.

Overcoming fear

How do you handle your fears? What do you do when you realize that your fear has paralyzed you? There is a good side of fear the part that actually becomes a motivator and a way to learn more about yourself and that is key in learning  how to releasing fear from your life.  Here is a technique I work with clients to do to help with their fear:

1)      Begin by listing the specific things that you fear. Notice what you tell yourself around these fears. Do you awefulize things a bit like Chicken Little? Make them bigger that life? Or perhaps project the past into the future?

2)      Become aware of your body’s reaction when you are in fear. Notice where you feel the fear and how you react to it. Get curious about what thoughts and stories are generating your fear.

3)      Slowly begin to breathe into that part of your body that is holding the fear. Notice how that part of your body begins to relax. Continue breathing until you almost feel a sense of surrender.

4)      Connect with that higher, wiser self and ask, “What is the truth about this situation?”  With practice you will hear that small still voice of truth, reason and knowing.

5)      Now quietly visualize a beautiful warm light permeating the fear of which you now release. Staying with this light, breathing and gently noticing the peace in the absence of fear.

This is one of many techniques that I like to practice with my clients for dissolving fear.  Know that you can get the courage to face your fears whether it is in your relationships or any other area of your life. Even more exciting is the fact that with each incidence of fear that you overcome you become stronger and more courageous and then find you are much more confident on your journey.

Be fearless!