When fear and anxiety strike, we naturally go into fight or flight mode. It is impossible to think clearly in this state of mind. Take a few moments to focus on breathing deeply and calm down physically and mentally.
When we cannot make things better right away, we must tolerate painful events and emotions. The best thing is not to fight what we are feeling. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with anxiety and panic which takes away the fear of fear.
Fear is fueled by being unable to make a decision or take action. Whatever your fear may be, facing it will reduce the power it has over your life. This will take time and practice but starting with one small step will lead you to mastering your fears one day at a time.
CHALLENGE YOUR THOUGHTS
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking. Look for evidence that your fearful thoughts are true. Consider what you may say to a friend faced with the same fear. Our attitude ultimately determines the path we take.
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start thinking of what could go right. Be thankful for all the positive things you have to fuel a brighter tomorrow. Make a gratitude list to remind yourself of the good things in life when you are unable to make a tough situation better. Cheerlead yourself. Use positive affirmations like "Anything is possible" "I can do it" "I am worthy" "I deserve to be happy" etc.
IMPROVE THE MOMENT
All moments, good or bad will not last forever. Imagine everything going well and coping well. Imagine hurtful emotions draining out of you and refilled with positive emotions. Find meaning in the pain; focus on whatever positive aspects of a painful situation you can find, repeating them over and over in your mind. Engage in exercise, hobbies, cleaning, have decaf coffee or tea, or go for a walk.
Life is full of stressors yet many of us feel like we must strive to be perfect. Failed attempts and mistakes are part of the growth process, evidence you are trying and pushing your own boundaries. Defeat is a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent. Bad days and setbacks will always happen and it is important to remember life is messy. We all stumble and fall; getting back up and trying again is what will keep us heading in the right direction.
TALK ABOUT IT
Sharing our fears takes away some of the scariness. Talk to your support system, treatment team, and people you trust. If you are unable to discuss your fears, call Resolve Crisis Network 1-888-796-8226 -- 24 hours/7days, Peer Support Warmline 1-888-661-9276 -- 10am-midnight, and United Way Helpline call 211 -- 24/7.
GO BACK TO BASICS
Facing fear and anxiety can be overwhelming. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to self medicate which only makes things worse. Practice simple, every day things to help stay on track. Proper sleep, diet, exercise, and relaxation/meditation are often the best cures for anxiety.
IMAGINE THE WORST
While this may sound like bad advice, imagining the worst thing that could happen allows you to see if it is based on fact or fiction. Imagine the worst thing that could happen and what you would do about it. Not only will this allow you to feel more prepared, it will reduce the scariness. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
When you challenge your fears, treat yourself for your successes no matter how small they may seem. Reinforce conquering fear with self soothing using your 5 senses, getting a massage, eating a nice meal out, book/DVD, or take a trip to your favorite part of town-whatever little gift you can give yourself that will make you happy and continue encouraging overcoming your fears.