Five Essentials for Managing Fear
Fear is a part of being human and can activate the fight, flight or freeze response at times when clear decision-making and creative action are needed. Especially in these times of upheaval in the world, knowing some antidotes and tools for managing it day-to-day can make all the difference in your well-being and success.
Most of the clients I work with are either at the effect of change or are actively creating change in their lives in order to manifest a project, dream or their next more meaningful chapter in their lives. Fear is a natural part of the process, so working with it is an important aspect of the coaching. Unmanaged it keeps us from moving forward. It impacts the heart, mind and body, affecting health, the ability to see opportunities, make decisions and connect to others.
Here are five ways to effectively manage fear:
Lean into Your Support Team. This is crucial. Even though we have popular TV shows like Survivor, the truth is no one makes it alone. We aren’t built that way. We are tribal and it is through relationship that we thrive. For every Olympian on the podium there are trainers, loved ones, colleagues, confidants and health specialists who have helped them get there. Look around at the people in your personal and work life. Do you have people in your life who will support and encourage you, who you can lean into and talk to when you are feeling fearful and unsure? Who believe in you and have your back? If so, lean into them. If not, this is an important gap to fill in your life. We all need a safe harbor and wisdom for the way forward.
Build your Internal Resources. What are the images, favorite memories, music, spiritual practices, ancestors etc. that support you and return you to your resilience and self-confidence? Consciously stay connected to your internal resources and work with one or two main “go to’s” when you’re not afraid so you can easily call on them when you are. Working with them can clear your mind, relax your body and get you present in the moment to the person in front of you or the task at hand.
Strengthen your Courage. The word comes from the Latin word ‘cor’ which means heart. Courage is about having the strength of heart to act even in the face of fear. It is also defined as strength in the face of pain, grief or difficulty. In order to have courage you must be anchored in what you value most, be clear about your goals, and be willing to take a stand for them. If you haven’t done the work yet to define what they are, take the time to do it. Then each time you take a stand for them you will strengthen your courage.
Stay close in. It’s important to have a vision of where you want to go and what you want to create in your life. It’s like having a destination on a map. Where you can get tripped us is by keeping your focus on the gap between where you are today and the manifestation of the vision. The gap can seem impossibly large and stoke your fear. So, when it comes to the day-to-day, stay close in and just take the next step, then the next. It’s like that metaphor you often hear about – build a wall one brick at a time. It’s wise, it works! Unless you’ve figured out how to build a replicator like they have on the Starship Enterprise (wouldn’t that be fun!), know your destination but stay focused on completing the next step. When your mind goes racing to the future, engulfing you in overwhelm and fear, reel it back in.
Sing. Yes, sing. For those of you who don’t think you can, the Africans have a saying, “If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing”. Singing activates the vagus nerve which connects the nervous system and the brain, relaxing both. You can’t sing and be afraid at the same time, so whether it’s in the car, the shower, wherever…try it. Even quiet humming works, although singing out will also inspire joy which will make everything better!
Sabrina Roblin, CPCC has been a professional coach, mentor, and trainer since 2004. She has worked successfully with individuals both independently and inside organizations in manifesting their goals and dreams, and in creating a meaningful next chapter in their lives. Contact her for more information and a complimentary coaching session.