Don’t Let Fear Stop You
The end of summer and the start of a new school year bring many changes to our daily lives. Facing a new experience or a life change can be difficult when we find ourselves listening to the negative voice of fear.
I hope you’ll find the article below useful as you negotiate the challenge of change, so you can welcome new opportunities in your life with confidence!
Fear talks to people
And when they listen, this is what can happen:
- Katie loved to dance but she wouldn’t go out on the dance floor with her fiancé because she thought she’d look clumsy and ridiculous.
- Steven knew he deserved a raise, but he was so nervous about approaching his boss, he never asked for one.
- Brittany’s fear of bears was so great that she wouldn’t go on a camping trip with her friends. And their campsite wasn’t even in bear territory.
Fear is that nattering voice inside our heads that says, you can’t, you shouldn’t, what if….
Fear keeps us from taking risks that might enrich our life or holds us back from doing some things we need to do. Experience new and exciting vistas? Accomplish something really great? Fear says, “Not on your life.”
This isn’t to say that fear is all bad. At its best it’s an instinctive, natural ability to help us survive. Without fear we might attempt to stroll across freeways or scratch behind a lion’s ears. But given the upper hand, fear can dominate our life and make even the innocuous—taking a walk or answering the phone—a daunting experience.
Ninety-nine percent of what we worry about never happens, according to Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. “There’s a voice inside our heads that’s always heralding doom and disaster even before we get started on something,” she says.
Strategies For Dealing With Fear
On its own, fear won’t disappear. Processing these fears with EMDR is the most effective way to shift negative, limiting beliefs that keep you from doing what you’d love to do! Let’s target some of those fears in some EMDR sessions. If you’re processing on your own, Francine Shapiro’s book Getting Past your Past can be very useful.
Following are some additional strategies that will complement your EMDR work to help you deal with fears that might be holding you back from something you want or need to do.
- Get information. In an information void, fear clicks in to do what it thinks is its job. But when you find out about what scares you, you replace fear with knowledge.
- Find models. Let someone who’s not afraid model courage for you. Just as fearful behavior breeds the jitters, courageous behavior invites confidence.
Talk about your fears. Keeping your fears bottled up inside magnifies them. Taking them out into the light can shrink them. Find a good listener who won’t disregard your fears or make judgments.
- Talk to yourself. Self-talk filled with positive messages can change fear energy into positive energy. Eliminate the can’ts, shouldn’ts and ought-tos from your self-talk vocabulary.
- Use your imagination. Before you arrive at the party, imagine the other guests are as frightened as you are. Or see your audience as people who really want the information you have. Visualize yourself doing what you are afraid to do; see yourself as graceful, strong and capable.
- Expand your comfort zone. Take a small risk each day. Make one phone call, ask for one thing you want, go to one new place. Little by little your confidence will expand, too.
- Relax and breathe. Sometimes the physical response to fear creates even more fear. Physically relax your body and breathe in and out to release tension.
- Ask for help. If your fears are pervasive or severe, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, in which case you should definitely seek help. If your fears are not debilitating, but still get in the way of doing what you need or want to do, asking for help can make all the difference.
Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications
Many of us manage our small fears every day. But fear has a nasty barb that can hook into us in a variety of ways. Some of us find ourselves riddled with small anxieties that make particular experiences exhausting. Other fears loom like insurmountable walls. If fears are holding you back from living the life you want, you can get help.
In our practice we’ve seen the effectiveness of EMDR therapy for helping people cope with debilitating anxieties. Working with our EMDR trained therapists, clients have been able to turn down the negative voice of fear so they can respond positively to job opportunities or life situations. If you feel like your fears are keeping you from positive life experiences, we hope you’ll contact us.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about our team and how EMDR therapy can work for you, call us at 818-681-6627.
With over 20 years of experience as a therapist and life coach, Kay is currently a private practitioner working with a broad range of clients. As an EMDR certified therapist and an EMDR consultant, she has completed several thousand EMDR sessions with clients, and has seen significant results from this area of therapy as people resolve stress, anxiety and trauma as well as focus on enhancing peak performance.