Last night, I woke up at 1:30am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. The reason? Gripping fear. It cornered me in my sleep and terrorized me for the rest of the night. My defenses down as a result of my exhaustion, I became fear’s victim and I hated myself for it.
When I finally rose from my bed at 6am, I was as useless as useless could be. But fear? Fear was tickled pink because not only had it gotten the better of me through the wee hours of the morning but now it had plans to ruin my day too. And it succeeded.
I’m sure you recognize yourself in this scenario. Who hasn’t struggled with fear in their lives, especially now, when the world feels like it is burning? And lest your noggin be built of absolute steel, occasionally, fear will get the better of you like it did me.
That said, there are ways to combat fear so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. I’ve listed some below:
- Befriend fear (but not too much) — The only way to conquer fear is to face it. Looking it square in the eyes and forcing your way through it is the best strategy you can take to overcome it. Additionally, giving yourself 30 minutes to 1 hour a day of allowing yourself to feel the fear will help to distinguish it as well. Fear can’t be denied but it can be trained and ultimately put in its place;
- Balance it properly — Don’t just listen to the perspective offered by one side of the aisle. Find a trusted voice who sits on the other side of that aisle and ask for his or her thoughts and opinions as well. This will keep you properly informed and avoid you drowning in irrational thought coerced by extremism;
- Don’t lose sight of all that you have to be grateful for — Take a few moments three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening) to step back and remember all that you still have to be grateful for, like a healthy family, a warm and sunny day, or an opportunity for growth. Realize that your smaller world is just as important as your larger one. Don’t trash the former at the hands of the latter;
- And speaking of opportunities, remember that with all fear comes the opportunity for growth — Instead of allowing fear to paralyze you, turn the tables on it by refusing to back down. You will become a more competent, stronger, more empowered person if you do. If you can figure out how to bury it in joy as well, even better;
- Finally, find the help you need to cope with it — Whether you lean on your faith, a medical professional, a mentor or your mother, reach out to someone who can help talk you down from the ledge. Then do the same for another. People need people, especially during weak moments. There is no shame in recognizing this, accepting it, and reaching out to those available to you. Courage sometimes needs to be restored in us by solid confidants.
I am certain that each of these suggestions will help you when the boogey monster comes knocking on your door. Before I sew this article entirely up, however, and go off to take a nap, I have one more suggestion for you to consider — Make time for fun.
When you are having fun in your life, fear has a harder time taking hold. It will also be a lot easier to guard the back door of your mind when it is on something else entirely that makes you happy and smile.
Remember, the truth of the matter is, each of us only has today. Don’t allow fear to destroy it and gobble the rest of them up as well. Don’t let fear win and subsequently ruin your life. It is too precious a gift to hand over lightly.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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