What creates fear? It could be anything, a raised voice, risk of financial insecurity, physical pain, emotional hurt, even a simple conversation can send someone into a tailspin of anxiety or panic. We strive to overcome our fears, to convince ourselves that the fear is no longer there and many times we are unaware that we have a fear until a life event wakes the dormant issue. Fears can turn inwards and manifest into guilt or shame or project onto others through anger and frustration. Yet, for all of their bad press there is a flip side.
Our fears strive to protect us. The intention is one of safekeeping and self-preservation. Rather than negate or criticize our fears, we instead should give them the respect that they deserve. While our fears prevent us from living full lives, they unconsciously strive to ensure that we don't repeat painful experiences from our past. Our mind creates a memory of every experience we have and downloads it into our programming. When we find ourselves in a situation where our fears are being triggered, it is because in the past this similar situation caused us pain, or someone told us it was harmful, and therefore the mind/body will do whatever it can to ensure that a) we are safe and b) the experience doesn’t repeat itself. In comes the worry, doubt, physical inertia and, in extreme cases, panic and debilitation.
When we forget or don’t address our fears, we carry them forward to be resolved at a later date. Our fears, when unresolved, create limiting beliefs. Limiting thoughts make us rigid in the mind, which creates rigidity in the body. Presence and mindfulness create an assortment of options available and remind us there are many choices before us. Choice allows us to integrate and live in the alignment of oneness and essential self. So, how do we work with our fears rather than battle against or deny them?
Our ability to recognize the signs when fear begins or is triggered plays a pivotal role in our response to the situation. Where do we feel it physically – a knot in the stomach, dry mouth, or light-headedness? Perhaps it is a certain situation, a place, a group of people or an individual that triggers us. Or maybe it is certain words that make us defensive as a result of criticism, or not having our needs listened to. The recognition of our response affords us the responsibility of our actions in order to improve relationships with our selves and others. Over time, when we continuously choose an alternative behaviour, we actually begin to hardwire the mind into a different program than the one we’ve being playing over and over when faced with fears. We actually change on a cellular level and the time it takes for this change to transpire depends on our commitment and how deeply seeded those patterns are. It’s become almost comical how often I continue to do the same response when I am consciously aware of my patterning and am committed to choosing otherwise. Being easy on yourself is a must in this process.
Once we’ve shone the light on what our fears are and how they show up, the next step is present moment awareness. This is where choice lies. When we become present by feeling sensations in the body, deepening and slowing the breath, listening and really seeing, the mind and the body begin to expand.
Fear constricts, present moment expands. When we choose to be expansive, alternative choices will present themselves. Our bodies exist in the now. Our minds have a tendency to stray to the past and the future. By experiencing a moment, you stop time. When you are in the NOW this is where the shift happens.
Below is a grounding technique to use in times of fear from www.chakrahealing.com:
The warrior II pose (see photo), or Virabhadrasana II, builds core strength and balance. At the same time, you work on facing and mastering your fears. It’s a very powerful, even aggressive stance that says, “Bring it on, world! I am not afraid!” Keep your core strong, eyes ahead and chin up, ready to take on any fear you have and take action anyway. You will notice that while the energy “zaps” outward from the outstretched arms, your chest remains open. This vulnerability is actually a sign of courage. It gives yourself permission to connect with others (a closed heart space closes you off from relationships, abundance and great life experiences you would otherwise fear to try.