An interesting thing happened when I was researching this article. I discovered that fear is only searched for in Google 10% as often as depression and anxiety. It’s on a par with panic and worry. But really when you look at it, fear is in the back of so much that we do that makes us uncomfortable. It causes so much suffering.
I’m having a championship example of that as I develop my business out, because my best efforts at a New Year marketing push have ended in … well, slightly modest results, shall we say?
This is unfortunate, partly because I do this for a living, but more because as a human being defined largely by… work, a business fail hits me hard. Naturally I’m keen to get this right, but happily I am now turning towards my inclination to add value rather than advertise.
Why don’t we accept fear?
Fear’s a tough thing to want to tackle. As a sensation in the body, it has a strong and insistent vibration for most of us. It has to – we’re meant to fight or flee! However, these days, where our physical safety is rarely in much jeopardy compared to our ancestors, the cause of our fear tends to be mental. And you can’t really fight that – can you?
So, let’s look at a list of behaviours here – how many do you recognise in yourself?
What is behind detrimental behaviour?
If you ticked a lot of the boxes, did you ask yourself why you have those behaviours?
I’ve mentioned before that one of my drivers in doing this coaching work is that I am what’s called a ‘Type A Personality’. Research by two cardiologists Friedman and Rosenman in the 1950s established that men with certain traits (competitive, time urgent, ambitious, hostile, aggressive) were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as men without them. I duly had a heart attack, and started to take an interest.
More recently I have cast a wider net and looked at Things That Frighten Me. I didn’t want to look at these things particularly, but they kept being brought to my attention!
Look again at the list above and ask yourself if fear is behind your behaviour. If it is, what are you afraid of?
Do you experience shame as a driver of your fear? Is there fear of loss? Are you feeling generally out of control? Have you had some serious incident, accident or illness than has dented your invincibility? Did you divorce or lose loved ones? Lose your job, money or a house? Experience physical or cognitive decline?
Do you think your fear has increased in the last 5 or 10 years? Why or why not?
Looking at society in general, my perception is that a huge rise in fear is endemic in the way we now live. If, like me, you are old enough to remember when it wasn’t so – what do you think about that? Why is it? What does it mean for you?
It’s a fascinating area to study, but leaves me thankful that I have awareness, education and tools to tackle it.
Dealing with Fear
I find this podcast incredibly helpful on dealing with fear, but of course all the coaching I do for myself and with my clients is fundamentally about managing fear.
So much modern fear is redundant.
However, if you ever want to do anything that you are currently afraid of, you will need to evolve to get there.
You will need to actively choose to experience fear directly, in your body. When fear comes up (if it’s not needed to physically protect you) you can experience that fear and then allow it to pass. This will reduce the fear that arises next time. Once you accept and allow the feeling of fear, you disarm it – it becomes neutral. At this point you can choose a new thought to think about whatever situation is triggering fear. You can create a new belief about situations that used to trigger fear for you.
Would you like to take a closer look at your fears?
Maybe some you can consider letting go. I can teach you.