How To Handle Fear And Anxiety
Well, if we don’t handle our fear, what happens is we can’t think straight. We can’t look for alternatives or solutions or opportunities that might be around us. We get paralysed by that fear in many cases. And ultimately what’s happening is that we’re not operating from the Executive Center part of our brain and we’re out of equilibrium.
But ultimately there’s something that triggers from an event or a moment in our life that will trigger that fear. Now you would have heard people talk about, well, in a moment of fear, there’s two responses, there’s fight or flight. Meaning that we will fight against a particular situation or we will run away. But what I found is that there is another response, and that’s the response of freeze, meaning that we somewhat get paralysed in our moment of thinking. And therefore we can’t think straight from the perspective of how is it that we can get out of our current situation? So we’re literally paralysed, frozen in that moment in time and paralysed by that fear.
Now what happens is that our mind is operating from the amygdala side of our brain. And then what happens when we experience that fear is that the stress hormones start to build up in our body. Now, as the stress hormones start to build up, our body begins to contract. We will literally move to a situation whereby if you can imagine this in your own mind, whereby you’re standing straight and upright in yourself, and you’re feeling confident about yourself and your being, when we encounter a fearful moment, our body will literally start to contract. So we start to stoop. We start to move towards being in a fetal position. And for many people, when they’re in high levels of fear and anxiety, the body will actually move to the fetal position where they’ll curl up in bed or curl up on the couch in that fetal position and wanting just to make themselves smaller and smaller.
What also happens is our breathing starts to become more shallow. And we start, and I’ll use the term, whereby we build castles in our mind, meaning that fear or that anxiety starts to build up so much that we can build these amazing stories in our life of the potential of what can happen. So we start to build castles in our mind and they’re typically not good castles, they’re literally horrific castles because we fear the worst. We fear of what’s going to happen of what is the worst case scenario of what might actually happen. So that spiral starts to begin and bring us out of control.
Now because there’s so much emotion around the fear that’s building up, the fear becomes fact, meaning we manifest more in our life, which gives us the evidence to compound that fear and that emotion that builds up in our lives. So fear can become fact if we stick in that moment and that emotion of fear. Because when you’ve got the thoughts matched with the emotions and feelings, that’s what you’re going to make manifest. So that’s how we bring about more circumstances and more evidence in our life to compound and bring about more and more fear to show up in our lives.
So when we get triggered, fear starts to build. So what we need to do is we need to reset the brain. Now what’s the quickest way of actually resetting the brain? Well, if, as you remember what I said earlier, our body starts to contract. Now, if our body starts to contract and our stress hormones are circulating throughout our body, what we’ve got to do is literally get us out in that particular situation, reset the mind from that moment and get us into a much more Executive Center side of thinking, a much more creative, innovative, and opportunistic way of actually thinking.
So the fastest way of resetting the mind is through our breathing. Now there’s a technique that I give my clients whereby it’s a very, very simple technique where you inhale for five seconds and you hold that breath for five seconds and then you exhale for five seconds.
Now, the reason we’re doing this is ultimately to reset the brain. But after doing it, you’ll actually see and feel a difference in yourself physically because your body will be expanding because you have to fill your chest with that breath for five seconds and hold it for five seconds. Ultimately, what you’re doing is you’re expanding your physical body. So you can no longer be in the fetal position. You’re expanding your body to literally take over the full capacity of your lungs. And ultimately what’s actually happening is also in the brain is that there’s a whole load of activities going on in order to reset the brain to get you out of that fearful moment.
So the first exercise that we got to do is a breathing exercise. So what you do is inhale for five seconds, then hold that breath for five seconds, and then exhale the breath for five seconds and keep going for the five seconds, emptying your lungs from that breath.
You can do this exercise while you’re driving, while you’re sitting on a couch or doing an activity. When you do the exercise you will notice a difference in your mind, but also in your body as well. And it’s a very, very quick exercise to do when you feel fear coming and descending upon you. I also give this exercise to clients when they’re about to go on stage or they’re about to give a very important speech or about to go into a very important meeting whereby it just resets the brain and gets them settled and centered in their own mind.
Now, if you repeat that sequence, meaning inhaling, holding, and exhaling for five seconds, if you repeat that a few times, you will absolutely find a significant difference by just doing that very simple exercise. So my encouragement is that when fear starts to show up and you find yourself getting a little bit stressed, well then what you can do is go through that breathing exercise.
Now let’s look at fear itself.
Well, the definition of fear that I use is that fear is the anticipation of a future event that we perceive poses a risk.
Now, if it’s the anticipation of a future event, it means that it’s within our control, meaning the event hasn’t happened yet. So if it’s a future event, obviously it hasn’t happened yet. It’s the anticipation of a future event. It hasn’t happened.
Now the second part of that definition is that we perceive it poses a risk, meaning it’s in our thoughts, it’s in our mind, it’s in our thinking that it poses a risk for ourselves. Now it doesn’t eliminate the fear. It’s just a definition to understand that’s what fear is.
I’ll bring you through an exercise of what you can do to dissolve that particular fear, but understand it from this perspective. Fear is the anticipation of a future event that we perceive poses a risk. Now, the very fact that it’s a future event and the very fact that we perceive it means that we can dissolve it. We can remove that perception and therefore dissolve the actual fear itself in order to move ourselves into the Executive Center part of the brain and start working out ways and solutions of removing the triggers, but also removing the fear from our lives and the situation that we find ourselves in that’s causing the fear.
So let’s look at the different types of fear that actually show up.
There are seven types of fear and I’m going to go through each one of them for you. First of all, there’s the fear of failure. Now fear of failure is about that we’re not going to achieve the success that we want to achieve, that we had been looking forward to, that we wanted to achieve, that we had in our mind at some point in the future that we were going to achieve a level of success. It’s the fear of failure from that perception. Or it’s from the perspective that there’s an outcome that we were expecting, but we’re not going to get the outcome. Now there’s a fear that we’re not going to get that outcome. So fear of failure is about something in the future that we were holding onto, that we were looking to be rewarded with. And therefore we’re not going to get that anticipated future event or that future outcome. So it’s a fear of failure from that perspective.
The next one is the fear of loss of something. That can be the loss of money or time, the loss of our efforts, the loss of a relationship, the loss of property, for example. So whether it be a home, a car, jewelry, a watch, whatever it might be. So it’s the loss of something, or even the loss of our career or our reputation. It’s something that we’re holding onto that we fear the loss of.
The next one is the fear of not being good enough. And that can come up from the perspective of where we say to ourselves that, “I don’t have the courage to do something,” or, “I’m not good enough to do something. Who am I to stand on stage and give a talk about something? Who am I to write an article and, say, put forward my expertise, for example?” These are the kinds of conversations that we have with ourselves that brings about the fear of not being good enough, meaning we’re not intelligent enough. We don’t have the expertise. We don’t have the competence. We don’t have the appearance or the looks that we would like to have. We don’t have the knowledge or we don’t have the fitness, whatever it might be. These are all elements or pieces of it that come together from the perspective of us feeling that we’re not good enough to do something.
Then there’s the loss of the fear of loss of respect. And that can be as an individual, as a leader, as a business owner, a business person, as an entrepreneur. Ultimately what it means is it’s our standing in our business or our community, or even our family. So for something that might happen at a future event, our fear is that we’re going to lose the respect that we have or our standing within our community, our family, our environment, our business of what people will perceive of ourselves. So it is that fear of loss of respect.
The next one is the fear of rejection. So if it’s from the rejection of a partner or a staff member or a client, for example, or even a potential client, rejection from society or rejection from our community or from our family. It’s that fear again of being rejected by somebody or a group of people.
The next one for some people is the fear of death, or the fear of illness. It’s the fear of getting an illness and what that illness might mean to ourselves, of what will happen in the future. And what are the implications if we were to fall ill, or if we were to die, what would happen to our family or our siblings or the people that we’re responsible for. So when we start to concentrate and focus on the fear of death or the fear of an illness, it’s that kind of scenario that we start to build within ourselves, what might happen?
The last one, then out of seven is the fear of breaking rules. So they could be rules of society. They could be religious rules. For many, many years, people had a fear of breaking those rules that were laid down by church or laid down by religion. There’s the political rules, there’s rules of moral code that we adhere to. And even if you look at the current situation by way of the pandemic with COVID-19, the fear of people breaking the rules associated with COVID-19, of the restrictions and all those kinds of things, it’s that fear that can build up with other people, within ourselves.
So they’re the seven different types of fear, the fear of failure, the fear of loss of something, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of loss of respect, the fear rejection, the fear of death or illness, or the fear of breaking rules. They’re the different types of fear. But what is it that we can do to dissolve the fear when it shows up in our life?
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Then there’s the other cliches of, well, fear stands for false evidence appearing real. And yes it does, meaning that, yes, you can use it as an acronym and therefore just get on with your life or just get on with things and therefore a statement that it isn’t real. And yes, as I said earlier on, the definition of fear is it’s a perception of a future event. So therefore, yes, it’s true in its essence. However, it still doesn’t remove the fear. It doesn’t dissolve the fear of what we have to deal with.
And other people want to say, just think positively, don’t think about the fear, just think of its opposite and just get over yourselves and just get on with things.
Now, while that might make sense in some circumstances, it won’t, again, deal with the fear and ultimately what it’s also not doing, it’s not bringing it back into equilibrium. And the whole point of what we want to do is operate from the state of equilibrium. Because when we’re operating from a state of equilibrium, we are objective. We’re seeing both sides, but also we’re operating from the Executive Center with the Unconscious and to the SuperConscious. And that’s how we make manifest and how we bring about the things that we want to have within our life. So just thinking positively is taking us out of equilibrium state because it’s not being objective. So while it might deal with a particular situation at this moment in time, it’s not going to ultimately solve the underlying problem or the underlying trigger.
So if we were to dissolve fear, well then what is it that we need to do in order to dissolve the actual fear?
Well, we’ve got to work with how the brain works. Now our conscious mind is thinking, as I said earlier on, ultimately what it’s doing is it’s building castles in our mind of the worst case scenario of the worst things that could happen, and we get attached to that outcome. So if that how our conscious mind thinks, then we need to work with how the conscious mind thinks. And how we do it is we look in an objective way, meaning we get our mind, our conscious part of our mind, to operate in a different way. How we do it is to think objectively. How do we do that? We ask questions. That’s literally what we do.
In order to do this, there’s seven questions that I’m going to bring you down through in order to actually dissolve the fear.
Now, if you can think of the fear that’s coming up for you, meaning that if you’ve experienced a recent fear, whatever that fear might be, when you go through the list of questions, you’ll find that the fear will be dissolved. Then we have to also remove the trigger. That’s another part.
But I want to bring you through is the sequence of questions because it’s set in a particular way. And when you go through it, it will dissolve the fear from that perspective.
Now, the first question is, well, what am I fearful of? Now, when you’re answering that question, it’s what are you fearful of? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Or what’s the worst possible case scenario that could potentially happen if whatever the event is triggering that emotional fear coming up? So the first question is, what am I fearful of? Because that has to be a statement from the perspective of you’ve got to name what you’re most afraid of. Now, for some people that could be, well, I might lose my reputation, as I said if you go back to the different types of fear that I explained earlier on. I’ll lose my reputation or how I’m respected in society, or I could lose my house. It’s whatever the worst case scenario is for you, that’s what you’ve got to name.
Now, the next question is, so what’s the actual evidence that you have that makes these negative thoughts to be factual, meaning what’s the evidence that you have that makes these negative thoughts to be true? Now, when you look at that question and you start to think about it, and you start to look at it from the perspective of what evidence do I have right now in this moment in time, that’s going to give rise to “I’m going to lose my house or I’m going to lose my reputation” or whatever it is that you’ve answered to the first question.
Now, what you’ll find in every single one of those questions, meaning every single time you answer that question, what you find the answer will always be, I don’t have any evidence. There is no evidence right now at the moment. Because if you go back to the definition of fear, fear is the perception of a future event, so the event hasn’t happened yet. So therefore there’s no evidence right now at the moment to substantiate, to make that fear, to make that event the answer to you what you gave to the first question to make it absolutely true, to make it factual. So the answer to that question, question number two, is always, “I don’t have any evidence.”
But then you go onto the question number three. And you look, okay, so what is the evidence that I have that makes these negative thoughts to be false? Because then you start to look at and start to gather the evidence in your mind.
Now it’s a lot easier to answer these questions when you have somebody qualified to pull the information out of you, because our natural reaction is to say, “Well, I don’t have any evidence. I don’t have anything.” And you start getting back into building up that fear within yourself. And so if you’re to work through these questions with somebody that’s qualified to be able to do it with you, well then you will have a much, much better result.
But even just for now, just to start thinking about, the fear that you’re experiencing right now at the moment, ask yourself what evidence do you have that makes these negative thoughts to be false? What you’ll start to find, if you take, say for example, the scenario of, “Well, I could potentially lose my house.” And that’s the worst thing that you’re fearful of, when we start to look at the evidence to make that thought false, what we find is, well, we’re still paying the mortgage or we’re still paying the rent. We haven’t gotten any letters from the bank to say that the house is going to be repossessed. We haven’t received any information to say that, for definite, our house is going to be taken off us. We don’t have that evidence right now at the moment. So therefore it’s false.
So when we start to look and find the evidence that makes these negative thoughts to be false, we start to work from a conscious mind perspective, say, “Oh, okay. So we don’t have the evidence right now at the moment. So therefore there has to be an alternative way of thinking or in terms of way of moving forward.”
Now, if you move on to the next question, which is, what are the benefits of experiencing the circumstances I’m experiencing right now? Our mind will naturally be drawn towards all the negatives, all the drawbacks of any moment that shows up in our life. So our mind has built up all this evidence for ourselves of all the drawbacks. However, what we want to do is force the conscious thinking, force the mind, to start looking at what are the benefits of the current situation? Or what are the benefits of the circumstances that you’re experiencing right now at the moment?
And you may find a multitude of different benefits when you start to answer that question, benefits that you’ve never seen before. And when you see the benefits, ultimately what you’re doing is you’re bringing yourself back into equilibrium because there’s always both sides. There’s always positives and negatives. There’s always benefits and drawbacks. But the very fact of you asking yourself that question to identify the benefits, now you’re bringing yourself back into equilibrium.
The next question is, how is the current situation serving you towards your purpose? Now, if you remember back in an earlier blog, I outlined how you actually find your purpose. Now, when you find your purpose and you know what your purpose is and you’re working towards your purpose, when you ask the question, what is the current situation, or what are the current circumstances, or whatever is happening in your life right now at the moment, that you’re seeing as being a fearful moment, or you’re seeing it as being a negative moment, start to ask yourself the question from the point of view of how is the current event or the current moment serving you towards your purpose? And when you start to look for that evidence, what you’ll find is you’ll be drawn, or driven towards doing something that’s getting you one step closer to your purpose. It’s moving you away from what you were doing in the past, or what you were doing before to move you towards fulfilling your purpose.
And that’s typically what I’ve found with every single client that I drill this down into whereby they find, what they’re doing is getting them to do more activities that’s completely and totally in line with their purpose. So now they see it as being a way of moving them closer towards their purpose, as opposed to moving them away from the purpose.
The next question then is, so what’s a more objective way of thinking about the situation right now at the moment? And the more objective way is understanding the law duality, that there’s always both sides. There’s positives and negatives, there’s benefits and drawbacks. So when we see that there’s both sides and we see that there’s a better way. Meaning even just from going through the breathing exercise, go through, identify, what’s the evidence in your life right now at the moment, and how is it helping you and guiding you towards your purpose? When we start to bring all that together in a more objective way, you’ll see there are a lot more benefits that can be seen, right now at the moment, that’s helped you in your life are serving you as you’re going forward. So it’s an objective way of seeing both sides, and that’s bringing you more into equilibrium.
And then lastly, the last question is, so what new learning or positive actions can you take from this exercise or from this moment? What’s the new learning or positive actions that you can take going forward? And that’s different for a lot of different people, whereby they may say, well, anytime a fear comes up, you’re going to go through the exercise. So they remind themselves of doing that exercise or they’ll set themselves a reminder in some shape or form whereby when fear starts to build up, they’ll do the breathing exercise. Or when fear starts to build up, they’ll go and answer each one of those questions, or they’ll partner with somebody, or ask somebody that’s experienced to pull the information out of them in order to ask the questions. And therefore they can dissolve the fear from that perspective. So that could be new learning. And a new learning might be in relation to whatever it is that’s moving you towards or getting you to do differently or to do more of, that’s what you need to do more of going forward.
So when you answer each one of those questions, ultimately if you’ve done it correctly and done it right, and you’ve done it thoroughly, what you’ll find is that fear will be dissolved.
But let me ask you, why is fear there in the first place? Fear is there as feedback for ourselves that we’re not in equilibrium or that we’re not living our purpose. Fear is a feedback mechanism. All the negative emotions and feelings that we feel is feedback to ourselves that we’re not in equilibrium or we’re not living our true purpose.
So when we bring ourselves into equilibrium, which is what objective thinking does, those questions that I gave you, when we bring ourselves into equilibrium and we’re living our purpose, well then fear doesn’t show up because we’re seeing both sides. We are completely in equilibrium and we’re totally connected. Equilibrium for me, as I said earlier on, equilibrium is where we are connected with our Unconscious and we’re connected with the SuperConscious. When we’re in equilibrium, there is no fear.
Now, yes, is fear going to show up at some point in the future? Yes, when we’re out of equilibrium, but ultimately there may be a trigger that we haven’t dissolved as yet. And when we dissolve the trigger, well, then the fear won’t show up going forward. Now, the type of fear that you experience, meaning, remember I said that there’s seven different types of fear, the type of fear that you experience is your feedback to say that you’re attached to something. So if, for example, it’s a fear of losing your money or it’s a fear losing your house, or it’s connected with, for example, your reputation or your ego, it’s your attachment to something. And that’s also bringing you out of equilibrium.
So what has to happen is that we have to dissolve the attachment, because if you remember back to one of the previous blogs, what I spoke about was that in The Executive Code, picture this in your own mind, if you can imagine you’ve got one circle whereby it’s your Executive Center connected with another circle, your Unconscious, and then connected with another circle, which is the SuperConscious. So ultimately what you’re doing is you’re trying to make yourself in equilibrium between each one of those circles.
As soon as you’re attached to something, whether it be money, whether it be your relationship, whether it be your ego or reputation or something, it’s bringing that pendulum out of equilibrium. So what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to dissolve the attachment as well as the trigger that brings up the fear.
So what we need to do ultimately, when we’re trying to dissolve fear, first of all, is to reset your brain. And how we do that is by our breathing exercise, the one that I gave you earlier on whereby we breathe in for five seconds, we hold it for five seconds and we exhale for five seconds. That resets the brain very quickly.
Then we have to identify what is the fear, what is it that we’re most fearful of and we’re going to then go through the process of dissolving that fear. And we do that by the objective thinking questions exercise. And then we have to identify the attachment of what we have that’s bringing up that fear whereby we’re not being in equilibrium. What is it that’s bringing you out of equilibrium? And what’s the trigger that’s causing that fear to show up in the first place? When you get that information and you start to dissolve the trigger and the attachment, then it’s no longer going to show up in your life.
So what I would encourage you to do is the next time fear starts to show for you is to go through that process for yourself, because ultimately what you’ll find then is you bring yourself back into equilibrium, and then you’ll be operating from the Executive Center, with your Unconscious and into the SuperConscious.
So that’s how we actually handle fear.