A normal reaction when you feel fear is to think, "I don’t want to feel this way". We don’t have a cultural context for navigating fear so when you encounter this emotion — it’s scary. Confidence Coach Laure Redmond joined us to share some helpful tools for those fearful times:
- Dial Fully Back STOP constant access to world news, natural disasters, wars, crimes, and politics; this visual/verbal input creates a feeling of false urgency, which is fear-based-thinking.
- Make Space For all Feelings Do not label them either: Bad or Good. The goal is to reach a point of self-understanding and acceptance. When you work through feelings in this productive way, you eventually get to the other side.
- One Nose Breathing If you’re in a state of fear and don’t have an established breathing or meditation practice, try left nostril breathing. Gently push down on your right nostril and start to breathe in and out of your left one, which has the effect of stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system; which turns down your stress/fear response.
- Mindful Touch Put your hand on your throat (for 8 seconds or more), put your hand on your chest (for 8 seconds or more), then put your hand on your belly (for 8 seconds or more). As you do so, over and over, you say, “Open, Open, Open,” either silently or out loud. These are the areas of the body that contract when fear shows up. If you become aware of the physical constriction and begin to relax in the face of it, then you can begin to shift your nervous system toward calm.
- Catch Chatty Mind When you notice your mind obsessing over past thoughts or stories, use your observing mind to stop this kind of thinking in its tracks. Instead, work towards thoughts that reflect what’s important to you and what’s happening in current time. This exercise will help your mind to stop sifting backwards, while refocusing on what you want for yourself now.
- Speak Gently to Your Child Self You want to grow your strength and capacity to hold difficult emotional states. When you feel an intense emotion like fear, visually imagine a child or pet feeling the same way—maybe they’re crying, maybe they’re having a tantrum. You don’t condescend or dismiss them. You say things like “It’s going to be okay” or “I see this is so scary.” Say these same words to yourself when fear takes over.
- What is Driving Your Choices Ask yourself if you are basing your decisions on: fear or desire. Do you make safe choices even if they're not what you really want because you fear you can't do better? Start by not blowing the stakes of your decision out of proportion. Your self worth is not based on wins versus losses, therefore you can stop catastrophizing the consequences of your decisions.
You can listen to Laure on "Feel Good Naked Radio." For more helpful information, visit Laure's website. She's also available for private coaching for individuals or groups.