The Joy Club member and host of our monthly ‘Writing for wellbeing‘ workshops shares her wisdom on how you can face your fears…
We have all, at some point in our lives, been fearful of something. Fears can be small and short-lived or they can be overwhelming and seem to always be with us. From fear of spiders to fear of being alone, fears often play a huge role in preventing us from living a happy and peaceful life. Fear can make you feel anxious, overwhelmed and at its worst, paralysed.
Some people develop fears due to previous trauma or because we learned it as a child from our parents. As we go through life with our fears we lose sight of how it started, so it becomes a vicious cycle that has a strong influence on our life.
Conversely, fear can also be a positive emotion as it can protect us from dangerous situations. For instance, if you find yourself in an unsafe part of a city late at night, the fear emotion kicks in to allow us to take action to return to a safer place.
However, fear can become irrational and spiral out of control and can sap our confidence, holding us back. This can be something as straight forward as speaking in public or, to the worst extreme, being unable to leave the house. As a previous sufferer from agoraphobia (fear of going outside or away from home), I know only too well how crippling this condition is. It destroys your life and becomes a very isolating experience and can ultimately lead to depression.
So, is it possible to face your fears and conquer them so you can live a fear-free life? I believe you truly can. I worked hard on my agoraphobia and, within a few months, I was going outside with no fears – even driving on my own to new places. Of course, there are still times when the old fears creep back in, but I am now able to recognise the warning signs and work through it before the fear takes hold.
So, how can we start tackling our fears? Please be aware that if your fear is crippling or very overwhelming, you may want to consider visiting your doctor in the first instance, as there is professional help out there.
Here are a few ways that I have found helpful in tackling my fears.
- Talk to someone about your fears. Sharing your thoughts, even with just a friend can be the first step into identifying the fear. Sometimes when we talk to others about our problems we find that we can achieve clarity into what is really going on and this can help us to see a way forward.
- Write down in detail your fears. This will give you a clear view of what you are dealing with.
- Write down a plan of action. This will give you a feeling of control. When we have overwhelming fears we can often feel out of control.
- Face your fears head on. Oh, I know this sounds scary, but if you start with baby steps then you can make breakthroughs into tackling the issue.
- Start using relaxation techniques to help calm your mind and body. This can be meditation, breathing techniques and even visualisation. Gentle exercise such as walking, Qigong, swimming and yoga can also help calm the mind and body. If your mind and body are in a constant relaxed state then it is more difficult for the anxiety and fear to take over.
- Finally, journaling is really positive and successful way to help you deal with fears. When you write down your daily thoughts and feelings this can help you achieve clarity of mind, helping you to process thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. Your journal is a safe space to record your journey through tackling your fears and is a good way to look back at how far you have come.
Please remember that you are not alone in your fears. We all experience fear at some points in our life, although many of us hide it very well. Fears can hold you back so much, so it is definitely worth trying to address them, enabling you to live a happier, more carefree life.
My next ‘Writing for wellbeing’ class is on Monday 5th June at 11am here in The Joy Club. We will be exploring this topic through journaling which hopefully will help you face and work through your fears. I hope to see you then.
If you haven’t already, please do book onto Susanna’s next Writing for wellbeing workshop, so you can begin to confront your fears through the written word…