We all get stuck in our fear sometimes, but there's a simple way we can move through fear and free ourselves.
Blocked. Clogged. Dammed. Frozen. Stuck. These are all emotions we have felt at one time or another. Maybe you feel this way more than you care to admit. Each of these emotions stem from one place - fear. I'm sure you already knew that, but did you know that you can feed your fear? Yup! Just like a little monster inside you that grows bigger and more powerful with each delectable gulp, your fear gets bigger and more overwhelming when you do nothing. What? You read that right. Inaction increases fear.
If inaction increases fear, then taking action should decrease it, right? Well...that depends. Before we talk about how to tame the terrible beast of terror, let's take a quick look at what fear is and how it starts.
Fear is thought with attachment.
You may be saying, "Hang on, fear is an emotion." Yes, that's true, but what causes that emotion? If you were not able to have any thoughts, would you ever get scared? Try it right now. Stop thinking thoughts...No thought thinking...No thoughts at all...Have you stopping thinking thoughts yet? Of course not! You are always thinking, but you're also doing something else, you're attaching a meaning to those thoughts you think up. Here's what I mean.
Pretend you are alone in a dark alley. Something rustles in the shadows to your right. You can't quite tell what it is. What does your mind immediately do? That's right! It starts thinking thoughts. Now you are walking quickly, and you can hear the rustling sound following you. Then, out from the shadows lunges...a fluffy white puppy. What is your mind doing now? Are your thoughts those of fear or glee? What happened to the thoughts you had before the fluffy white puppy jumped out of the shadows? What if it had been a full-grown Doberman Pinscher?
Still don't believe fear is based in your thoughts?
There's another ingredient to the fear recipe. The meaning we attach to our thoughts. If pretending you were alone in a dark alley made you feel scared, ask yourself why. What meaning do you associate being alone in a dark alley with? Maybe being vulnerable? If the rustling in the darkness also made you feel afraid, then why? If you were out in the open, with lots of people, on a sunny day and something moved in the bushes next to you, would you feel the same way? Finally, were you scared when the puppy changed to a full-grown Doberman Pinscher? If you were, then why?
Babies are born fearless. YOU were born fearless. Our experiences have formed our beliefs (thoughts with attached meaning) and those beliefs create our fear. A happy baby laying in a bassinet in a dark alley all alone isn't scared. We are scared FOR the baby. The baby could care less, until it becomes bored or hungry. The rustling in the dark would make the baby curious, not scared. When did we change from being curious to being fearful?
Now that we know the ingredients that create fear, let's talk about how we feed it. Have you ever made sourdough bread? You have to feed the sourdough starter daily. Each time you feed it, the starter grows (unless you discard part of it). If you don't feed it, the starter dies. It's the same with our fear. Fear has to be fed to keep its power.
We feed our fear through inaction. Our thoughts and the meanings we attach to them awaken the fear, then our inaction feeds it. What do I mean by inaction? Anything that doesn't change your state of fear. Not changing your thoughts is inaction. Not picking up the phone to call your friend you had a fight with is inaction. Not getting out of bed to work out or meditate is inaction. Just like standing on the edge of a diving board and peering over at the swimming pool waaaaaaay down below for a long period of time allows fear to build up and get more powerful, so does our lack of action in every other part of our lives. If you run and leap from that diving board, fear never gets a chance to take hold of you.
To eliminate fear, we must take action, but there are a few rules you must follow to be effective. First, the action needs to move you into a higher state. Sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for yourself because you want a new job, but not applying for jobs because you're afraid of rejection, isn't going to get you a new job. You need to move yourself to a better state of mind, and you can do that really quickly just by changing your physiology. The main thing to remember is your brain needs more oxygen to move to a higher state. Stand up and do 25 jumping jacks to get your blood pumping and oxygen to the brain. If jumping jacks aren't in the stars for you, do three rounds of fire breathing, followed immediately by some form of quick exercise that lasts 30 to 60 seconds. This will prime you to take immediate action on whatever it is you have been putting off because of your fear.
Make the action small...and I mean super small. We're talking tiny. You don't want to try to do something so big that you fail and then reinforce that fear in your brain by attaching a failure meaning to what you were attempting to do. If you needed to make 25 phone calls to customers today, tell yourself you're only going to call one. Just one. What you'll find is, once you get started, it's really hard to stop. Write that down! Once you get started, it's really hard to stop. That's called momentum. Momentum moves fear out of your way. Most of the time you'll actually finish a much larger task, when you had only intended to do one tiny thing.
Finally, start NOW! Today! Pick one thing you've been stuck on, change your physiology, and take one tiny step towards achieving it. Even if that one thing is doing the laundry! Trust me, I have my own Mount Washmore I deal with on a daily basis (1 husband + 5 kids + 1 puppy = loads of laundry). You can do this! You are not your fear! Start now, keep trying, and positive change WILL happen.