Fear. It’s an emotion that I always try to have under control. In my earliest experiences with fear, I would ask my dad to do a thorough search of my bedroom to confirm that no monsters hid underneath my bed and that the Boogeyman did not live in my closet.
Later on, I feared the dentist who appeared with an arsenal of razor-sharp tools. That fear vanished as soon as I gained newfound confidence from my pearly whites. More recently, fear has been the result of a microscopic, invasive and infectious disease, aka coronavirus.
This time, managing fear has been a little different. This fear can easily cause our hearts to break and our thoughts to run wild. In our daily routines and experiences, we may be encountering fear. It can control us, paralyze us and create a toxic environment. When left to wander and run free, fear can become a lingering adversary.
When left to wander and run free, fear can become a lingering adversary.
I have grown fearful for the well-being of my parents and my 92-year-old grandmother. The shortage of supplies that medical professionals face leaves me afraid of the future. This fear doesn’t vanish quickly, like the Boogeyman or the dentist, but even in the face of rampant fear, I have found techniques on how to respond.
In times where fear seems inescapable, one of the most encouraging actions to take is to stand in unity with the people around you. Fear has a way of bringing people together. Humans have a core desire to connect, to be loved and to belong. We also have easily-accessible technology that makes face-to-face interaction possible. Even when miles and oceans separate us, a letter in the mail or a thoughtful text message can ease fear of loneliness, abandonment and uncertainty.
Fear has a way of bringing people together.
Stay in faith.
Faith truly is believing without seeing. Choose to believe in the good and hope for the best even in times of hardship and facing the unknown. Oftentimes, what we choose to believe dictates our realities. Consciously choose to challenge your thoughts of anxiety and fear with the belief that things will get better.
Take care of yourself.
Whether it means a nap, a luxurious bath or a walk outside, be sure to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Sometimes, this may mean disconnecting from social media or turning off the news. Sometimes, it may look like starting a new project or sleeping in. Do whatever you need for yourself today.
Stay in the present.
We can choose to cultivate peace by narrowing our focus on the present moment. Don’t allow your thoughts to wander off to worrying about the future. Also, don’t allow your mind to drift to longing for the past. Make the most of today. Appreciate today. Show up and do your best today.
Make the most of today. Appreciate today. Show up and do your best today.
One activity I have been enjoying to help me stay grounded is the “5-4-3-2-1” practice, which brings the focus to our five senses. Identify five things that you see in your current surroundings, four things you can touch, three things that you hear, two things that you smell and one thing that you taste. This calming method of practice reduces the mind’s urge to worry about the unknown future.
Our fears become weak and powerless when we focus on the here and now and acknowledge our strength, courage and fortitude. No matter what’s going on outside our front doors, let’s cultivate this peace today.
How do you respond when fear is pervasive? How can you embrace fear and allow it to challenge and empower you for the better?
Image via Madeline Mullenbach