Our evolution made it possible to change the type of fear that we experience. We no longer fear wild animals that triggers a specific type of fear and reaction. That type of fear might be, when encountering a wild animal, more intense and fast. And of course, will trigger the “fight” or “flight” response.
Today, some of our fears are more deep. I’ve been “researching” fear for many years now. When I say “researching”, it means that I’ve been trying, with some success along the way, to change my relationship with fear from the common “living it” to more “being curious about it”: how it gets triggered, how I react, how others react, what habits it opens up, how is my body changing when experimenting fear.
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The personal and professional life comes today with high expectations for results. Here’s some examples:
- you buy a car, and then you would like a better one
- you have a home, but a bigger one will be even nicer to have more space for the present & future shopping items that we’ve purchased
- a new phone could be more “useful” – your friend already bought one, so why not?
- new movies to watch, more things to buy and of course
- more food, better food and then less, but expensive food.
- those experiences to have: new places to travel to, new holiday resorts to go to, new destinations, coffee shops, dance festivals and the list goes on.
We live in a “more” world, like a loop that sets you on a perfect track for stress, anxiety or in a simplified way called, destination: fear.
But, what if you see fear in a different way. Imagine that you visit a new city and find a new coffee shop. Inside the coffee shop you find similar list of products like in any coffee shop. But, while drinking it, you are curious. The same with fear: you’ve experienced it before, you might not not drink it, but if you drink it, you might look at it in a different way.
Here are 5 ways to increase your awareness towards fear:
1. Don’t try to stop the emotion
Like drinking the coffee, you’ve already set your mind to do that so you might not try to force stopping it. Just watch how in unfolds. Step by step, with higher intensity, with a direct way.
2. Watch the narrow focus it triggers
Fear is natural in reducing our focus towards the fear item. It’s normal, as our brain & body prepare to fight or fly. But, usually the modern life fear is not that obvious. So, fear gets directed towards some thoughts. Maybe it is something about the past, or some worry about the future. Fear will narrow your thinking. Be the one who watches this process.
3. See the pattern of your fear habits
Fear sets the basis of a particular pattern of actions. Some starts to be anxious, others go directly to the next bar of chocolate, while other spend their evening drinking & binge watch an entire season of Narcos. By continuing to observe the pattern, you will smile while observing it and understand the result which in most of the case will not eliminate the fear.
4. Check your surroundings
Fear actually stops actually seeing the surroundings. We are so caught in thought that we don’t notice things that happen around us. The explanation is simple: we don’t have enough brain power to continue to watch our mind movie and also be there in the present moment. By directing towards what’s happening around you, you begin to be there, in the “now”.
5. Why worry.
Check the video below and see that in the end, with our without a problem in life, you should always ask yourself “Why worry?”
Don’t forget: fear is just another emotion. It’s not you. It’s your companion.