Helpful Hints

Confronting Fear and Anxiety

Confronting fear is something I aspire to do well. Currently, fear gets a hold of me all too often. It’s easy to let it in. Then without warning, it sets up camp in your mind and it feels impossible to evict it. Dealing with fear requires practice. There’s never going to be a time that we don’t experience fear. It’s what we do in the face of it that matters. In my life, fear can be a moment by moment experience. In the past, it’s been easy to lose my whole day to fear and anxiety. Now, I take it one step at a time. Some days are more difficult than others but rest assured, I’ll come out stronger and braver. So how can we quell fear in the moment? Here are some of my strategies to deal with fear…

  • Distraction

With OCD or any form of anxiety, whether it be situational or not distraction can be a good technique. When I get overwhelmed, I try to use different distractions that will help my day move forward. Before my hip surgery, exercise was something that I used often to meditate and ease my body. Now, I try to focus on homework. If that’s not working, I try to control what I can. I can clean or tidy up my space. Anything that refocuses your brain on a task, rather than running with that fear.

  • Meditation or Purposeful Breathing

Getting your body out of that fight or flight stage is vital in controlling your fear. You may not be in that stage yet but the anxiety is overwhelming. Start focusing on your breath. Anxiety can be a second by second experience. Take a deep breath in for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and let it out for eight seconds. Repeat that as many times as you need. You can use biofeedback or meditation apps to help guide you. Your brain can’t multitask as well as you think, if you focus on something else, your anxiety can calm itself.

  • Talk to Your Fear

I tend to do this a lot. I will admit that occasionally I talk myself in circles but it helps. For me and my anxiety, I need to understand where it’s coming from. Often, that’s half the battle. If you don’t know what you’re afraid of, explain to the universe what’s going on. How do you feel? What’s overwhelming you? What events led up to this anxiety or panic? Start there, follow your train of thought and speak it out into the universe. It’s okay to be scared but don’t hold it all inside.

  • Get Outside

This is always weather permitting, but try to get outside if you’re panicked. Listen to the birds chirp, hear the wind blow, and feel the warm sun on your face. Nature is healing. It has so much to offer to us and yet we overlook it all too often. Taking a walk is a great way to reset. If you have a friend or family member that can join you, even better. You can share your fear or listen to their stories and lose yourself in hearing them. Anxiety often takes us away from the moment. Listening with intent is a good technique to let go of our own struggles. 

  • Get or Give a Hug

Hugs calm our nervous system down. I love to get hugs from my mom or my dog. I understand that not everyone lives with other people. If this is your situation, hug a stuffed animal or pillow. It won’t give the same effect, sometimes this doesn’t work for people but It’s worked for me in the past. Sometimes it’s the effort of holding something that helps us find peace. If it doesn’t help, then we can try something else. 

Fear is prevalent in the world with Covid-19. It’s not easy to escape that anxiety and panic that surrounds culture at this moment. This may or may not feed your regular level of anxiety. You may have never had anxiety till this moment and now you’re lost in a new world. Everything will be okay. It is a stressful time but we will get through it together. Reach out if you’re overwhelmed and can’t calm yourself down. Try a counseling app or contact friends. Take a warm bath or light a candle. Start to do things that you enjoy within your home. Don’t sit in panic, try to do things that you know have helped in the past in moments of anxiety. 

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