Fear, Anxiety, Stress and Worry; Oh My (Part 1)
Fear is a distressing or negative emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, painful or a threat. To manage or cope with fear, face it by accepting it. Fear is a normal human emotion. Like all human emotions, it has a purpose. Evolutionally, fear serves to protect and keep us safe. It serves as a warning of danger, both physically and emotionally. It allows us to prepare and protect ourselves from real danger. However, emotional fears, such as fear of public speaking, fear of social situations, or fear of an object or location can seem irrational and be more of a nuisance than a help.
So, what can we do about emotional fears? In the moment sometimes just breathing through it will help. Just place your hand on your stomach and watch it as you breathe in for a count of three, hold for a count of three, and breathe out for a count of three. This will allow the body to diffuse the fear sensations and move the mind away from the fearful thoughts. If managing the fear alone is not working, talking with others about the fear helps.
Anxiety is the anticipation of a fear. Frequently it generally includes bodily manifestations, such as muscle tension or a queasy stomach, feelings of unease or edginess, and thoughts about the fear. Anxiety causes avoidance of the feared and/or reminders of the feared. Anxiety is another normal human emotion. A small amount of anxiety can be motivating. It will motivate to study for an upcoming test or prepare for a big presentation. But like most things, too much anxiety can be detrimental, too much anxiety can cause paralysis or helplessness as a result of feeling overwhelmed.
To manage anxiety in the moment, breathe deeply, this increases the amount of oxygen in your blood which produces an instant relaxation response. Visualization also helps manage anxiety. Close your eyes and spend a few minutes visualizing yourself in a relaxing place, a place that promotes peace and serenity for you. The location is not as important as the sensory details – the sights, sounds, and smells you visualize make the experience richer.