Fear. We all have experienced it.
It comes in many forms. There’s the fun fear of Halloween – spooky decorations of ghostly and ghoulish figures that scare us in an amusing way.
Then there’s the other kind of fear, the deep, dark hole of fear we experience at times during our lives. It can paralyze us emotionally, inhibiting us from moving forward.
“Being scared is part of being alive. Accept it. Walk through it.”
– Robin Sharma
During the dark times of my illness, I walked myself through fear countless times. Perhaps I can help you walk through yours.
Fear Feeds Upon Itself
Years ago, I wrote in my book that the concept of fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.”
I called that part of my 2 a.m. voice. It was the part of my brain that never seemed to sleep. I would crack my eyelids open, my thoughts swirling. A toxic mixture of panic, pain and fear combined to create a black hole which I spiraled into.
I realized this dark hole was a challenge that was presented to me: it was based on the false evidenced formed by my own fear.
My fear was composed of ideas, concepts and facts made up in my head. It embedded itself as a reality in my brain.
It appeared as a reality – but was not.
I began to recognize this pattern that frequently repeated itself, this 2AM voice: I knew I needed a rock solid defense plan when I found myself in this place.
But I also understood that all fearfulness isn’t hurtful. Like at Halloween, for instance. Getting scared isn’t always such a bad thing, oftentimes it’s followed by laughter.
And fear also gives us a sixth sense, so to speak: which says, ‘take notice.’ It is what gets me to use caution when I walk to my car at night, or when I lock my door before going to bed.
But it was the 2AM fear that I needed to deal with. And that’s what I developed a defense plan for.
My Personal Toolkit to Combat Fear
When I was so sick, when I could hardly move, days and nights when the pain would wake me and cause my heart to stop, I knew I needed to find a solution that was workable for me.
Praying the pain away was not enough. I needed more.
I created a toolkit that consisted of a few tried and true solutions that work for me always.
Key Elements of My “Getting Rid of Fear” Tool Kit:
Instant message or text a friend. Technology lets me see when my friends are online and available. If it’s 2AM and the dark hole of fear is pulling me down, I reach out. I tell my truth to one of just a handful of these friends and let that person talk me down from the emotional fear-fueled ledge.
“True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back to the light.”
I work on calming and centering breaths. Breathing in a word like peace and calling out my name. Breathe in the positive light of peace and exhale the negative darkness of fear. Actually imagine the bright light coming into the top of your head – and imagine the dark cloud of fear exiting at your feet.
Start Counting What You’re Grateful For
Gratitude has become a huge part of my solution to confronting fear. When we are grateful for the good in our lives, however small, we find that more goodness naturally flows to us.
“Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe.
You open the door through gratitude.”
~ Deepak Chopra
So start counting! I begin to count all the things, people, experiences, and positives I have in my life. I use my fingers to try to count them. Always I forget how many I have counted, and I end up smiling. Even while in excruciating pain from my illness, this has worked. It helped reframe my brain.
Those are just a few of the ways I like to put fear on the curb and walk through my life!
For more ways to transform fear and reclaim your life, check out my book: Unstoppable: A Recipe for Success in Business and Life.