Uncertainties naturally cause all of us fear, worry, and anxiety. Instead of living our lives under the weight of those things and letting it overwhelm us, we can learn strategies to help us overcome our fears. Let’s trade in our defense mechanisms and learn to live bravely.
Your fears and worries may look different than mine. You may worry that you will fail at your job or that someone will betray or reject you. It could be that something bad will happen to your children or that bills will be unpaid because your finances run out.
We all carry the weight of fear and everyone’s burden is unique. When fear, worry and anxiety come, and you know it will, here are some strategies you can use to help you live with courage during uncertainties:
By claiming it, you have the power to change it. Often anger is a defense mechanism against feeling fear. If we deny our strong negative emotions, they don’t go away. Other people can often sense them, and we’re more likely to project them onto other people and situations. Name, claim, and release your negative emotions in a safe way. Simply talking with a trusted friend about your concerns can make a big difference too.
People often run the worst-case scenario through their minds because they think that preparing for the worst will somehow protect them from that scenario not being as bad. But research shows that usually just creates more anxiety, because your fear is not created by the actual situation, but by your thoughts about it.
By imagining the worst-case scenario, we run the experience through our bodies and minds as if it were actually happening. So we start responding as though the feared event is taking place – which can lead to unnecessary stress. The more anxious we are, the fewer cognitive resources we have to make good decisions in the moment.
We all have different coping strategies when we feel anxious and stressed. We may stay busy to distract us from our worries. Sometimes we blame others or take it out on someone else, that way we shift our focus on others instead of focusing on the problem at hand.
We may binge on food, drinking, shopping, exercising, or a movie marathon in an attempt to drown out our worries and anxiety. We may try to bury our feelings through denial, procrastination and avoidance. Finally, we may brood over our worries even though worrying doesn’t change anything about the problem.
Being busy, blaming, binging, burying or brooding are all unhealthy ways to cope with fear, worry and anxiety.
Resist the temptation to isolate yourself or to think that you’re the only one feeling afraid. Have a plan in place for what to do when you start to feel anxious or afraid. Decide what you will do, like calling a supportive friend. As well as what you won’t do, like post something on social media.
Make a “safe” text thread with two or three friends who share your desire to stay calm and relaxed throughout the day no matter what. Whenever news hits that challenges your sense of calm, remember you’re not alone. Text them, check in throughout the day, or send each other affirmations that all is well.
By managing your fear, you’ll be more effective in the actions you take to help bring about the changes you want to see in the world. You’ll be taking mindful action instead of reacting based on your fears in the moment.
You can start to change the tides on your fears and feelings right now through some of these steps. Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and stuck to try and work through big emotions or situations! You don’t have to give the anxiety that may try to rear its head a free pass into your life. So grab a journal, a trusted friend, and a new perspective and take action!
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