How To Release Fear And Reduce AnxietyOct 24, 2021
The world seems to becoming more and more crazy, don’t you think? And I am receiving more referrals for people struggling with anxiety than I have ever before. When we get talking it soon becomes apparent that there are deep rooted fears underlying their anxiety. I think it is time we look at how to release fear and reduce anxiety.
The Difference Between Fear and Anxiety
I am often asked what the difference between fear and anxiety is. Fear is an intense emotional response to a direct and known threat. On the other hand, anxiety is an emotional response to a potential, unknown threat or internal conflict.
When you anticipate the day ahead and worry about getting everything done – that’s anxiety. Or thinking ahead to the drive and supermarket trip you have planned and worrying about whether you will cope – that’s anxiety.
On the other hand, when you are at the supermarket and a massive dog (not on a lead) runs toward you the response you feel is fear. Or realising that you haven’t managed to complete the work project by deadline and that you will likely face the wrath of your employer – that’s fear.
How Does Fear Affect Anxiety
Sometimes we begin to fear an anticipated future. In other words, there is not a direct threat but a potential one. It may even be an imagined threat or outcome. When we begin to imagine this outcome, our brain believes it is happening now and we initiate a fear response.
However, there is no direct threat to manage (because it is in the future and hasn’t actually happened yet). Now our brains begin to worry and want you to pay attention… This creates the anxiety.
This is why it is important to understand how to release fear and reduce anxiety.
Pandemics, Vaccinations, Fear and Anxiety
The problem we have been facing for the past 18 months is a persistent threat to our safety in many forms. Perhaps we may get sick (and there are some real fears around the severity of illness you may experience). Maybe you will lose your job. Perhaps you are afraid of being vaccinated. Or not being vaccinated.
In fact, everything around us at the moment seems to be perpetuating fear. Those of us that are vaccinated are asked to be wary of the unvaccinated. And then those of us who are unvaccinated are afraid of the consequences of their choices. Everyone is afraid of getting sick.
And in many cases the threat is not immediate. We only anticipate the threat. And it feels beyond our control.
No wonder our brains are on high alert and screaming for us to pay attention (And remember that the mechanism of anxiety is to get you to pay attention).
Our perpetual fear of an event that has not yet eventuated is exacerbating states of anxiety and leaving us feeling totally out of control
Releasing Fear and Why It Is Important To Do So
Unless you are being chased by that vicious dog or are dealing with a direct and immediate threat to your safety, fear is not useful.
Your fear is designed to get you into action and ensure your safety.
But feeling fear about something that is not happening right this second is only contributing to unnecessary amounts of cortisol in your system. Your adrenaline is higher. Sleep is affected. It’s possible that your general mental state changes and you are no longer future oriented and lose capacity for logical problem solving.
Excess fear in the absence of a direct threat significantly reduces your ability to function optimally.
This is why it is so important to recognise our fear and release it.
How To Release Fear and Reduce Anxiety
The best way to release fear and reduce anxiety is simply to breathe into it.
Sounds counterintuitive, I know. Most of the time we just push our uncomfortable feelings away and try ignore them. This rarely has the effect we would like it to have.
But when you are able to look at your fear, breathe right into it, you have the opportunity to shift it.
Take a moment to pause and notice where you feel the fear in your body.
What does it feel like? If it had a shape or size, what would it look like?
Now take a deep breath and fill the space where the fear is with your breath. Imagine that you are inhaling calm, centred energy. Connect with the part of you that is wise and peaceful, the part of you that you trust. Allow that part of you to breathe into the fear.
Say to yourself “I release the story behind this fear” and use affirmations to help you shift back to a position of peace and connectedness.
Affirmations To Release Fear and Reduce Anxiety
My fear is a result of an unnecessary narrative
I no longer attach to the outcome of this story
I have the power to choose my outcomes
I trust my ability to keep myself safe
The universe has my back
I inhale strength and release my fears
I choose to surround myself with love and peace
I have everything that I need to live the life I choose to live
My reactions are my choice
I am in control of my life
In every situation I always have a choice
The world is a scary place right now. It can feel scary and lonely out there. Connect with those you love and those who understand you. Remember that you always have control of your own choices and your own responses. The rest is often beyond our control.
And that is ok.
When the fear takes hold, settle into a comfortable space and breathe into it.
You’ve got this.