Face the Fear ... and do it anyway ..... face your fears .....
Okay good advice maybe but what the hell does it mean?
Anyone who has been watching 'Breaking Dad' on TV will know that Bradley Walsh has been subjected to facing many of his fears and doing them sometimes with pride, sometimes regret.
But generally we can each take or leave those kinds of fears which may be seen by some as dare-devil stuff.
We all need fear to survive. Not saying that anything is impossible and with some belief you could probably walk through fire or on broken glass but in everyday life as we know it we programme our fear to stop us from taking unecessary risks .... and heres the crunch.
Our programming during our life has decided what kind of level our fear barometer is set at and we tend to live within that level. The fear is not of the things you need to face but is an emotional fear of becoming unsafe. In other words a zone in which you feel safe - also known as your comfort zone. So facing the fear probably means stretching your comfort zone. You could do this gently and slowly or like Bradley Walsh you could get thrown in the deep end. This could have one or more of several effects: make you fearless (unlikely); build up your confidence to do more (possible); establish the fear even deeper (possibe); make you physically or emotionally ill (possible).
Deciding what course of action to take to conquer your fears needs careful consideration as any over stretching could cause you to further withdraw into your zone of comfort.
Lets take a break for a moment and consider those who have been brought up doing things we would need to summon up some courage to do. Like circus performers for instance introduced to the high wires or trapeze. To them it is simply a part of their life but they may have other fears that we cope with easily.
This example may offer us some insight into the base of our fears. The emotions that influence the fears are more generalised often allowing you to go about your daily life in trepidation and anticipating a disaster.
We only have the past. the present and what we imagine for the future, to live up to and influence our perceptions and choices.
So in some ways our fears that we live with are like self-fulfilling prophecies in that we choose the option most like what we fear to take as our reality. This is one of the areas that we can work on to improve our safe space. Once we feel the anxiety of fear or the result of a perceived negative experience we can take the time to look at the situation and do our best to introduce new perspective to view it through.
One perspective could be to imagine you are someone else who you admire and who you believe would be able to handle this situation more confidently than you did. Allow yourself to experience their perspective with your body and your mind.
Another way would be to imagine yourself distanced from the situation in some way. Up in the air like a bird looking down on it; behind the situation and far away; from yesterday; from tomorrow; from next year.
All these things are increasing your experiences and options for future fears and even those fears that are with you all the time known as anxiety.
Anything that you imagine well becomes within your experience range as a memory. That's why sports people spend great lengths of time practising in their mind achieving their sporting ambitions.
So if you suffer from fear or anxiety then give this a go and please let me now how you get on.
Thanks for reading.
Andrea Lowe, Senior Hypno/psychotherapist
at Mind and Body