Personal Growth

How to Stop Fear in Its Tracks

By Suzanne E. Harrill

Does fear ever catch your attention when your mind plays “what if” scenarios of the future? Do you fear unhealthy patterns will repeat because they have? Do you replay negative scenes from your past keeping them alive? If you worry and imagine the worst case scenario for your future. STOP!

The only way out of continually returning to the past that keeps projecting a negative future is to wake up and keep refocusing on living Now, today with awareness. I once heard fear defined as a present time fear of a future time loss. It takes vigilance to remind ourselves to be present to our life as it is happening and to take one small step at a time to live the way that pleases us. Tomorrow is a result of the beliefs and feelings we have today, both conscious and unconscious. The more conscious we become, the more we are able to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings, thus correcting those that are fear based. We neutralize them by overriding the old with new healthy thoughts, pictures, and feelings. We create new stories to bring in a new direction.

To create a new story, one you deserve and consciously choose, it is necessary to build self-awareness, by paying attention to your inner self-talk, thoughts, reactions, choices, actions, and feelings. You can learn to stay in present time and build awareness by being the observer or witness self to the things you are feeling and thinking as your day unfolds. You can set new intentions to create the things you want to experience and explore in your life. As you begin to take small steps and risks, it moves you in the new direction. You can become more in charge of the influences that create your tomorrow.

Each of us is at a different stage in our growth and healing. If you are beginning the journey of unlocking negativity that conditions you to worry and be overly fearful, you may need support to identify your issues, gain insights, and do the inner work to heal your issues, such as talking to a therapist or a trusted friend who is doing their own work. You can gain self-understanding from reading or listening to talks about your issues, and from a spiritual practice such as journaling, meditating, or praying. If you have worked on yourself for some time and you want to re-pattern worry and fear and stop unconsciously repeating old patterns read on.

Awareness is the first step in change. As you live more self-aware you will see that you lived much of your past randomly, making choices through trial and error, repeating what was taught at an early age. You were unaware of the thoughts and feelings that contributed to your day to day decisions, many of which were unwise and unsupportive of the life you deserve. You are now reaping the fruits of unconsciously creating in your past. It is important to become clear about what you want and do not want in your life. Your mind is like a garden and you are the gardener who can pull the weed thoughts and fertilize the healthy thoughts.

Intentions are important because they set the direction of your future. Think about what you want and it moves you forward towards it. How do you want it to be different from today? To create a positive future, you must set time aside to consciously focus on improving and changing limiting beliefs, attitudes, emotional reactions, and behaviors. It begins with setting intentions. Get in the habit of setting an intention for the day when you wake up.

Here is an exercise to set some new intentions. Think about things you want to explore and experience. Write them down and speak in the present tense. Here are some examples:

“I feel joy, connected to others, and creative.”

“I am pain-free and love to move my body with ease.”

“I release the hold of negative thinking and pessimistic attitudes so I can get more out of my life.”

“I love to learn something new each day. I feel excited and alive.”

“I live with gratitude for all I appreciate in my life.”

“I spend time healing my body/my relationship/my ability to support myself by reading to gather insights, journaling to process significant emotional events that still affect me from the past, and talking to others who have walked my path, have a healthy outlook, and have tips for positive change.”

“I have rich meaningful relationships and take the risk to communicate openly and honestly.”

“I love to help others. Service motivates me.”

“I develop my interests and talents to grow in mastery and satisfaction.”

“I am connected to God and all of life and choose to be a vehicle for good.”

Your mind-talk may say, “That’s not going to work for me.” In this case have a serious talk with yourself. “What have I got to lose. I don’t like the results I’m getting, so I’ll give setting an intention each morning a try.” Then make up an intention that you currently can live with. It can be refined as you grow and change. For example, “I am considering the possibility that I can heal my body/my relationship/my income level. I will read one book that was recommended to me. I will feel my resistance and do it anyway. I will wake up each day and affirm, “I choose to become more self-aware.”

Releasing unhealthy fear deals with trust. Trusting that life is not against you. Trusting you can change and let go of the past. Trusting yourself to go within to find answers and listen to the wise, spiritual part of you. Trusting that you are lovable and capable. Trusting God loves you.

Trust is learned the first year of life. If you have trouble trusting, you may benefit from doing inner child healing work. You become the good mother and the good father to your inner infant/child. You might benefit from closing your eyes and imagining yourself as a child. Have your adult self go to the child of the past and bring her/him forward in time to be with you today. Sit the child on your lap and talk to your inner child. Let your child know you love and will take care of her/him. Nurture your child by listening to what the child has to say now and each day. Ask things such as, “What are you feeling?” Continue as needed.

What can you do when you are stuck repeating a crippling, familiar, fear-based pattern? Create a healing ritual for yourself. I have developed this sequence to settle myself down. I tell myself to deep breathe, breathing in and out to a regular rhythm of six counts in and six counts out. As I feel my body more relaxed I talk to myself as I would to a child. “You can handle this. You are a grown up now and can think on your feet. You didn’t cause that person’s anger.”

Then speak with I-messages, “I am strong and stable. I have the courage to step away. I can manage my emotions to think and take care of myself. I think about the little things that were ignored that could have clued me in that I was going to be in this situation and therefore been able to protect myself. I will be more aware in situations like this in the future. I will change my responses/actions to change situations like this in the future.” A ritual like this can change a crippling, negative pattern. Move from panic to having choices about how to support yourself. You are your own expert to create the right steps for you when you are upset and caught in an emotional reaction. Use what I do if you need a place to start.

I have also created new patterns by waking up with gratitude each morning, sending blessings to family and friends, and enjoying the small stuff in my life. Examples of things that bring me joy are listening to birds singing in the morning, sitting on my porch and deck to receive natural light, watching the patterns of clouds in the sky, putting cream in my coffee, walking and sharing with a friend, being with my daughters, looking into the eyes of my grandkids, looking at patterns that tree branches make against the sky, and sunsets. See if you can identify small things that give you joy. As you include small things in your day that make you feel good, they become habits and create new patterns.

You have the power to change the effect fear has over you. The way you create new patterns is to focus on living today the way you value and enjoy, one step at a time. Take the inner time to keep clarifying what you want to experience, explore, learn, or have. Choose to become a self-aware person. Witness your life as you live your day making choices, having feelings, repeating patterns, and healing yourself. Heal your inner child, set rituals to manage emotional panic, listen to your spiritual self, and set intentions to move you in new directions. As you grow in self-understanding, you will realize that all past experiences were necessary for you to be who you are today. As a result you are unique, one of a kind and that is good.

Let your Self shine.



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