Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“Fear Funk”

Why are we so afraid? What does fear do to us? Fear paralyzes us. It freezes our action, it distorts our thinking with negativity, it attracts and amplifies problems and is the black hole of energy … fear simply sucks! It sucks the life, the success, the momentum from accomplishing our goals, from reaching our aspirations. Fear sucks our energy; fear gets in the way of everything. So why do we allow ourselves to be afraid? And what are the “Secrets of Life” we need to apply to overcome our fears?

When I grow fearful it generally centers around uncertainty, yet let’s not confuse this with change. Somehow my personal nature loves change. I have almost an addiction to constant change … to the next new experience. My fears are more rooted in faith, in belief. When I don’t truly believe, I don’t fully commit. Without an unyielding commitment to action … I get in my own way. I screw it up for myself because I hold back, I doubt myself, act inconsistently, indulge in self pity, lower my personal standards, and even give off nervous or bad vibes. So how do I break the cycle of the “fear funk”?

Fear is usually about loss or potential loss. It’s most basic underlying primal emotion is the fear of not surviving.

The first action I embrace is acknowledging and examining my fear. It is an awareness thing. The more conscious I am, the more I peel it back, the easier it is to determine my worst case scenario. As soon as I clearly understand my worst case scenario and believe that no matter what, I will survive … that my life is not threatened … my rational thinking begins to defeat my irrational thoughts. I am now free to fully focus my energy on overcoming my fears.

My next “secret” is to hold myself accountable to taking control over my own life. I need a plan of action. I have to be proactive instead of reactive. For me to break out of the “fear funk” I need to write a detailed plan and commit with unyielding determination. As I take action and feel like I am doing what I need to be doing moment by moment, I begin to rebuild my faith, my belief that the future will be what I envision.

I have learned over the past few decades that the more mindful I am; the more time I spend in the present moment, the faster I overcome my “fear funk”. How do I break the paralysis of fear and participate in the moment?

Just breathe! That’s right … deep breathing like an opera singer, from deep in the bottom of my diaphragm. When this focused breathing is accompanied by a conscious awareness of following each breath I become centered in the moment. Mindful breathing changes my physiology. Changing my physiology changes my psychology or mood. I am grateful to my yoga instructor who during the depths of the global financial crisis focused me on practicing my breathing to calm and balance myself. Check it out … in my opinion learning to breathe is a more effective and less expensive “Secret of Life” to combat fear than alcohol, drugs or therapy.

Fear is integral to life but if we turn it on its side it can be motivating force, an opportunity to commit our positive energy to personal growth and belief in ourselves.

How do you overcome your fears?

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