The Energetics of Fear
As any self-proclaimed catastrophizer knows (ahem, yours truly), old fears can appear out of nowhere, hijacking our rational minds. They send us into fight, flight or freeze mode, leaving us feeling helpless and full of anxiety. Our fears come in all shapes and sizes – big and small, frequent and extremely unlikely, obvious or unconscious. They control us and influence our decisions, often much more than we are aware of. Like an invisible hand guiding us under the illusion of keeping us safe, they reinforce old stories about our subconscious selves.
We have fears based around our worth: I am fragile, shy, alone, not athletic, not smart, not enough. And others based on distorted thinking and cognitive bias. Everyone gets sick, starting a business is too risky, all tourists get robbed. This fear-based programming holds us back from achieving our fullest potential, pursuing our passions and dreams, and taking action rooted in self-worth.
Just to be clear, I am not referring to justified fears around imminent danger, such as abuse, war, trauma and danger. In those cases, please take immediate action to stay safe.
Most of the time, when we feel fear coming up, we are not in actual danger. We are actually feeling our old wounds looping. This presents us with an opportunity to dig deeper into those feelings and work through them, removing their power over us. Think of it as a nudge from the universe to do some self-work and step through these fears. Next time you’re feeling fear unjustifiably, harness this energy and direct it towards your growth, using the exercise below.
Taking Action: Journaling Through Fear
These are my very favourite prompts for stepping through my (many) fears. I use them anytime something comes up. Recent fears I’ve taken through this process are my fear of fire and my fear of loved ones dying. Both very real fears in my mind because I’ve experienced some version of these in the past, making them seem all too real and possible.
Each time you do this work, you are strengthening new neural pathways that reinforce courage and calm, and reduce the power of your fears, until they eventually fade away. You will most likely need to journal and work through any related trauma several times to completely dissolve your most deeply entrenched fears.
I recommend using the following journal prompts to release the grip of any deep rooted fears that come up throughout your day. Adapt them to your individual needs as you develop your own process for healing.
- What is my fear? What am I fearful of that’s preventing me from doing what I want to do? Explain in detail.
- What emotions come up around this fear? What sensations in your body?
- What is the root of this fear? You may have to look at old trauma (or ancestral trauma) and your shadows. Here’s a great exercise to release repressed trauma.
- Explore the cognitive bias behind your fear. Statistically, what are the actual chances of it happening? If you’ve read about several recent plane crashes, you might start stressing the next time you have to fly. However, the actual chance of dying in a plane crash is one in ten million. You’re more likely to die choking on the airplane peanuts. And you’re probably not worrying about that. Here’s a great article that explains some of the most common types of distorted thinking.
- Write out every worst case scenario that could possibly happen if your fear came true.
- Now it’s time to face this fear. Ask yourself: If this happens, what does this mean for my life? If it has happened before, could it look differently this time?
- Let’s reframe your fears. What is the best case scenario, if your worst case scenario does in fact come true? Show your subconscious an alternative healing to that worst case scenario and disrupt the looping on your old fear programming. You want to create and reinforce new neural pathways with positive loops so that your fear doesn’t feel so scary anymore.
- At the end, list out 3 action steps that you can take right now to help you walk through this fear. For example, if you have a fear of being seen, try posting a photo of yourself on social media. It’s ok if you still have fear as you take action. Take baby steps and keep chipping away at it. Embrace the discomfort, trust your intuition, and take aligned action.
Disclaimer – The information on this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be taken as professional medical or health advice. Please consult your own doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, nutritionist or healer, and do your own research before making any health-related decisions. We try to provide accurate information on health, mental health and wellness, but it may not apply directly to your individual situation.