During these unprecedented times, it’s normal to experience unease. Fear is what keeps us safe from danger. However, it’s vital to not let fear hijack your brain and overwhelm your conscious decision-making.
When fear triggers, it’s important to understand the trigger. Realize that the fear response is almost entirely autonomic: We don’t consciously trigger it. The fear that is activated when we sense deadly danger is also spurred by uncertainty. Our personal filters play a significant role in our response to fear.
The simple solution to avoid triggering is to stay present, use consciousness and discern the level of danger that is at hand. Our experience and filters of what we determine are safe or not have a huge play in our response to fear.
Here’s a suggestion to help you respond versus react. Ask yourself – out loud – “What is my fear, and is it rational?” I suggest out loud because just saying it audibly can often bring to light if it’s rational or not. When we say our fears aloud they can often seem less alarming or even ridiculous – allowing us to determine what level of engagement is needed and move forward.
Saying your fear out loud can give you an immediate sense of control rather than having it running unchecked around inside of you. Experiment with this and see if the intensity doesn’t diminish as you speak it. If the fear is rational, ask one simple question: what do I need to feel safe?
Once the root of your fear is articulated and you know what you need, it can be addressed and tackled rationally by reaching for your curiosity and listening to your instincts. Both of these were wired into us for our self-preservation and to thrive. Do you need facts? Do you need to take a breath? Do you need to entrust yourself to make good decisions?
Processing your fears and looking at them through a conscious lens can allow you to filter your responses, make good decisions and tackle the problem one conscious step at a time. Using your curiosity and making conscious decisions shifts you from a state of fear and vulnerability to one of empowerment.
If you ever feel powerless, remember: you always have a choice in how you show up. You are always empowered to use your own wisdom and discernment and instincts to determine the next steps forward.
Rosa Parks once said, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” Stay strong and stay safe.