Reclaiming My Courage By Acknowledging and Navigating Fear

JT - Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game

During the past few weeks, more changes and opportunities for transformation continue to present themselves in my life. Yes there are the obvious changes being presented with our current situation with the pandemic, however I also have a number of others.

In the past, these changes would have sent me straight in to fear, worry and panic as I didn’t know there was a gap as you can see by the image. Over many years of practise, I have remembered I have a choice in each moment of each situationI find myself in and I can those choices from a place of fear or a place of love (i.e. my courage).

Freedom to Choose

Why I Created a Fear List…

Many years ago I created a fear list. I created it like a reverse bucket list as I knew fear was one of the emotions that prevented me from living a whole-heartedly connected life. So we are are on the same page, fear is –

  • “…an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” – Google and Oxford Dictionaries.
  • “…an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.” – Wikipedia, and
  • “to be afraid of (something or someone)” or “to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Identifying and Acknowledging My Fear

Wondering how I identify my fears? It is simple really – I have a number of them identified on an excel spreadsheet. However, I also stay alert each day with my feelings and have learnt to be able to identify when I am being triggered around things. For example – not having enough money to pay expenses.

When I discover my fear, I acknowledge it and use some self-compassion and mindfulness techniques I have learnt over the years. For example – the STOP Technique.

The STOP Technique – One Way to Acknowledge and Navigate Fear

One strategy I continue to use to interrupt fearful thoughts so I can choose to respond rather than react, is the STOP technique. This technique, helps me interrupt the ‘automatic pilot’ by bringing you back to the present moment. A brief description of how I use the STOP technique is –

  • S – stop. I stop to interrupt my fearful thought pattern or ‘automatic pilot’ by coming back to the present moment,
  • T – take a breath. I then take a breath and focus my experience of the in-breath and the out-breath (when it feels OK to do so),
  • O – open to observation. I connect to the experience of this moment and inquire with a sense of curiosity –
    • What am I seeing?
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I sensing?
    • What am I hearing?
    • What am I smelling?
    • What am I thinking?
  • P – proceed. I then proceed and reconnect with my surroundings and the activity I was doing in the moment.

I have also used this process to journal, so I can untangle from the fearful thoughts.

Over to You…

How do you identify and navigate your fear? Feel free to share any comments below.

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