Would you believe me if I told you that 99% of people share your fear thoughts? I would be willing to bet that if you gathered 10 people around you, even at random, that you all would share very similar, if not the same, fear thoughts.
The topic of fear is a vast and complex most of the time. For many, it’s like breaking down a complex math equation that hurts your brain. I’m having flashbacks to grade 12 math where everyone in class seemed to understand what was going on while I was trying to avoid eye contact so that the teacher wouldn’t call my name. Does this sound familiar?
Here’s the thing, our brain is wired for fear. This supercomputer that runs all aspects of our body from breathing to muscle repair to complex thinking is also meant to be fear-driven. The truth is that we haven’t evolved too much from our caveman/woman days. These days we live in houses and don’t have to hunt for our food, but our brain is kinda wired the same.
We’ve evolved exponentially socially from our cave time living and I’m grateful that I don’t run the risk of encountering a saber tooth tiger on my commute to work. We’ve moved away from living in tribes to having digital social connections around the world.
The kicker is that our brain’s ability to identify fear is still thriving even though we don’t encounter the same kind of threats we used to. The threats we face are rejection, not being liked in school, someone trolling a social media post, or simply imagined threats that become real in our minds.
Does this sound familiar?
The way your brain works isn’t your enemy. If you could rewire your brain, then you’d be the richest person on this planet. It’s way easier to find a trick to work with your brains’ wiring rather than trying to change the wiring itself. And let’s face it, who has time to work on rewiring the brain?!?
Trick#1: Don’t fight it. When fear shows up, don’t panic and don’t try to avoid it. Tell yourself that it’s natural for your mind to find things to be afraid of and this doesn’t mean your crazy.
Trick #2: Grab a journal to write in. Yes, I know that you hate writing and that journaling isn’t your “thing”. I hate to tell you, but you CANNOT change your thinking by simply thinking about it. Your brain is way too fast and efficient for you to interrupt fear patterns by trying to think differently. There are a ton of books out there that might tell you differently, but from my experience, this doesn’t work. You’ll have to write
Trick #3: Write out your fear thought….ALL of them. As they pop up, write them down. Even if you think they sound ridiculous and crazy you’ll need to write them down. You cannot change what you don’t understand and know about yourself.
Trick #4 (the most important one): Follow one fear thought at a time right to the end. Pick one fear thought and then ask yourself “if that’s true or it happens, then what?” and write some more. Ask yourself this question over and over again until you reach the end of the fear thought. Once you get there, think about the validity of this fear story – because now it’s not just a thought, it’s a story. What would you do if that were true?
Trick #5: Put a plan in place for the fear story.
You will realize that some fear thoughts are just simply so crazy and out there that there’s such a minimal chance that it’ll happen that you can let them go. Some fear thoughts will stick and you’ll work to the end and find out that you’re capable and can handle it. You can then jump into problem-solving and put a plan in place for that fear story and then let it go because you have a plan of action.
Want to hear more about this approach? Tune into my Facebook live on Thursday morning where I’ll dive a bit deeper into this model.