Reducing fear in life
Anticipation is often far worse than the reality. Our thoughts can invite crazy fear into our lives that may not even exist. As they say – when you are in your own mind, you are in enemy territory. For many people suffering from fear and anxiety, some imagined dreaded outcome has become a nightmare that they seek to avoid at all costs. Confronting the imagined fear is a powerful way to defuse the anxiety.
Identify the worst case scenario
What is your ultimate fear? Is it losing a loved one, getting a disease, being rejected or lonely?
Write down a detailed description
Describe in as much detail as you can what you imagine might happen to you. Why did this terrible tragedy happen? How has it affected you physically and emotionally? How have you reacted to this? How do you imagine this dreaded event How will it affect your life? How are you trying to cope?
Review the catastrophe you wrote down
Try to imagine what it would be like to experience this dreaded worst case scenario. Spend at least thirty minutes over several days imagining to the best of your ability what your life would be like living in “the eye of the storm”. Fully embrace it. It’s important not to simply read what you have written down, get emotionally involved with it. After a few days you will notice that the worst case scenario becomes much less anxiety provoking. When your anxiety has been reduced by half it’s time to go to the next step.
Develop a problem-solving plan
What could you do to minimise the emotional and physical effect of the catastrophe? How would you get on with work, family, leisure etc? How would ensure some quality of life for yourself? How could you encourage a hopeful optimistic attitude? Write down the coping plan on the same sheet where you wrote down the worst case scenario.
After doing this, repeatedly imagine yourself coping well with the worst case scenario. Keep doing this until you can fully imagine yourself coping effectively.
Fear is overrated. Some fear is healthy. It teaches us to be prepared but never allow it to overwhelm you. Challenge your fearful thinking – they are just thoughts. Not necessarily reality. Tell yourself you will cope. That you are strong and resilient. Master fear and confront it readily and it will lose its power.