How To Deal With Crippling Fear and Anxiety
Figures from the Ministry of Health show that 1 in 5 of people regularly experience anxiety.
And it's more than likely that you know someone in your area who is struggling with fear or who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety.
In this blog, I'd like to share some valuable tips and advice to better deal with fear and anxiety, so that you can live a happier, more healthy life.
Fear has a primary function
In actuality, experiencing fear is very normal. Fear warns us of dangerous or life-threatening situations. An example, you would not drive through a red light because otherwise there is a good chance of being hit.
Fear activates the ortho-sympathetic or sympathetic nervous system (which is an increase in heartbeat and respiration, our blood pressure rises, our muscles contract and our digestive process slows down).
In this way, our body is preparing itself to take action and respond to a threatening attack. You then have the choice of "fight or flight".
But what happens if your fear is unrealistic?
Imagine being frightened by the idea of driving, being alone, flying, speaking in public, shopping, having fear of spiders, fear of doing something wrong, fear of becoming ill, or fear of dying. In this case, our body often reacts violently and possibly causes you to panic.
Your breathing becomes faster, you become light-headed, you get clammy hands, and you start to sweat. You are unable to communicate effectively, think clearly or to focus on your activities. It's then when you feel like screaming, "HELP! How can I do something about this?!"
This is what...
An SOS step-by-step plan: what can you do to deal with anxiety better?
Define your fear.
You can do this by taking notes, for example: write down what makes you anxious. For children it is usually easier for them to give an indication of their fear through drawing. Another tip is to keep a diary where you write down your fearful thoughts every day and how you have dealt with them.
Fear arises in your head and is often based on experiences from the past triggered by something that is happening now.
For example: a fear of speaking in public reminds you of the fear you felt during your first oral exam in school or university. The fear then takes you away from the here and now, and brings you back into the past.
By consciously breathing in your stomach, you connect with your body once again, and can experience the present moment.
So every time you feel anxious, it is important to opt for abdominal breathing. You will notice that your fear will drop and that conscious breathing will help you navigate back to your true and peaceful self.
Fearful Thoughts Are Always A Bad Counselor
Having anxious thoughts can create violent emotions. But always remember that emotions are never permanent. They are as a ebb and flow as day and night, and never constant. Panicked reactions or panic attacks that cause physical agitation such as hyperventilation, sweating, trembling and shaking are never of a lasting nature.
So, it is important to trust that after an acute phase of anxiety, you will always come back to a safe and peaceful place. It is therefore advisable not to act if you are emotionally overwhelmed by fear. Always wait until the fear lowers before making important decisions. Never take action on a whim of fear or anger, as there is a good chance that you may regret it afterwards.
Enter Into A Dialogue With Your Fear.
By talking about your fear with others, you will experience a greater amount of peace in your body and mind.
Talking about things often works for many people, making them feel lighter and less anxious.
Additionally, you should never feel ashamed of your fear or anxiety, as there are many people regularly struggle with this. You are not alone! Talk about this with people that make you feel safe.
Have you ever tried to engage in a dialogue with yourself during intense moments of fear?
This gives you more insight and also more control over your thoughts. What can help is to view your fear as an "anxious baby" that is seen and heard by a loving adult who is listening with empathy to the fear of this child.
By this I mean that you become an observer - a loving presence - for yourself and your thoughts.
Remember: you are bigger and stronger than your thoughts!
Do not associate yourself with your anxious thoughts. You are not your thoughts and therefore you are not those anxious emotions that flow from them.
You can say to yourself, for example, "These thoughts are only storm clouds that are floating by in my head". And if you simply wait a while, the tide will turn and it will be clear again.
By trusting that the fear will pass, your mind will calm down again and you will start to feel more in control of yourself and your emotions during periods of fear or anxiety.
Embrace Your Fear With Physical Touch
What also helps is to relieve anxiety, is to engage in physical contact with yourself, for example: rub your belly, arms, legs, feet and hands. This will help you to feel more in-tune with yourself. Another tip is to move - walk in your garden or stretch your body.
Choose a safe space in which to do this.
A powerful song can also support you when you are overwhelmed by fear. An absolute must are the songs of Josh Groban - Do Not Give Up, and You Raise Me Up.
For people who work better visually, imagine that you are a powerful tree. And just like a tree, you stay stable on the ground and you defy strong storms. A tree remains anchored and rooted - just like you!
Seek Professional Help And Opt For Natural Resources
If fear has been plaguing you - a visit to a therapist, coach, psychologist, homeopath is certainly a good resource to consider, as it helps you to deal with your fears more effectively.
Granted, the first step in this is not always easy, but it is worth it! Consider how nice it would be for you if fear no longer dictated your life?
An ineffective method to deal with fear and anxiety is to 'drown it out' with alcohol, medication, drugs ect. This is because when you use these vices, it only strengthens the fear.
The challenge lies in daring to feel the fear and to get to know it better!
Another resources for when you feel that fear and anxiety have become too big, you can consider Trust herbal drops. These drops do not suppress the fear but make it more livable and can help you find the willingness to work with your fear. It is a valuable synergy that helps to absorb inner tensions.
Trust herbal drops contain: Passion flower, Valerian and St. John's Wort, three plants that are beneficial when anxiety controls your life.
In addition, they also contain:
- Great Angelica (Angelica archangelica): which has a calming effect in cases of mental overload.
- Smelly Gouwe (Chelidonium majus): which has a cleansing and purifying effect on the functioning of the liver. When the liver is out of balance, we experience more feelings of fear, anxiety and anger.
- Hardy (Verbena officinalis): which supports your body during stressful situations such as mental confusion and insomnia.
- Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria): which has an antispasmodic and analgesic effect, restores digestion and supports the liver.
If you are already on traditional medicine, such as anti-depressants, you can consider the Trust Mild version. These herbal drops are free of St John's Wort - an ingredient that cannot be used whilst on traditional medicine.
To end off, here are 10 inspiring quotes to remember when you are fearful and anxious:
- FEAR: Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise
- A head full of fears, has no room for dreams
- Courage means to feel fear and yet follow your heart
- You are strong. Stronger than your thoughts. Stronger than the strongest tree. Infinity is your strength
- You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
- Let your faith be bigger than your fear
- Never let the fear of what others think about you stop you from being yourself
- Do not rescue your child from a challenge, teach them how to face it
- Whoever is never afraid can never be brave
- Anxiety is nothing but repetitive re-experiencing failure in advance
I wish you confidence and strength in dealing with feelings of anxiety and fear!