Paralyzed by Fear and Anxiety
November 30, 2017
Fear is a perfectly normal and healthy emotion that is essential to your survival.
It protects from danger and can even be helpful in certain situations if “used” wisely.
Unfortunately, fear and anxiety, in overwhelming, sustained doses, can be absolutely paralyzing. These two emotions can hijack your thoughts, stress your soul and make you want to shut down and withdraw from life.
As you look back on your life, how many times were your fears irrational and unwarranted? How many times did they exceed any “real” danger posed by the object or situation?
If left unaddressed, fear creates dangerous levels of stress and causes significant problems in your relationships and work.
Coping with Paralyzing Fear and Anxiety
1. Name Your Fears
People become afraid and overwhelmed with worry when they feel out of control; flooded with uncertainty, they worry about what will happen to them and their family.
They begin imagining the worst and start making up scenarios and scary situations. Unfortunately, these self-created scenarios tend to be more catastrophic than what eventually happens (if anything even happens at all).
To break fear’s hold on you, name it. Start by asking and answering, “What am I really afraid of?” This drags fear from your imagination into reality. Acknowledging and articulating your true fears makes fear less threatening and more manageable.
It’s been said over and over again that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Okay. So let’s get to the truth of the matter. And that starts by you asking yourself some questions. Deal with facts not fiction because the truth shall set you free. Don’t be a prisoner in some imaginary jail.
2. Replace Fearful Thoughts with Positive Ones
Many of us are prone to negative self-talk. We are constantly scaring ourselves with fearful thoughts and imagined outcomes that make reality feel a lot worse than it actually is.
To free yourself from paralyzing fear, you must identify the thoughts and self-talk that make you feel anxious, afraid and stuck, and then start replacing them with positive alternatives.
Choose to remind yourself of the facts. Choose to challenge fearful thoughts with positive, fearless statements. For instance, replace the thought of “What if I fail?” with “What if I succeed?” This simple shift of focus will lead you in a healthier direction that takes you to a much better place in your life.
3. Go Into Action
Action is the best cure for paralyzing fear and anxiety!
Focus on the present and figure out what you need to do right now.
Figure out what the next step is and DO it as this creates the motivation you seek.
When the end goal seems insurmountable and overwhelming, making you feel afraid and stressed, choose to see what lies beyond the mountainous, seemingly unconquerable obstacle.
You can choose to gaze at defeat – on the overwhelming thing that’s stopping you… or you may choose to focus on the victory – to life beyond the obstacle.
Focus on the positive outcome – on all of the great things that will result from you conquering the fearful giant that’s paralyzing you and filling your heart with terror. And then break down the end goal into small, manageable tasks. This builds confidence and creates sustainable momentum. Empowerment isn’t something someone gives you, it’s what you give yourself. So why wait for someone to remove your fear(s) when you can start slaying your giants right now?
4. Talk to a Professional
Talking to a therapist might make it easier to sort things out and pinpoint your fear(s). A good therapist not only listens but helps design an action plan for overcoming your fears. This is especially important if your fear has begun interfering significantly with daily life and/or has crossed over into phobia territory.
A healthy dose of anxiety and fear is good for you!
Fear keeps you from hurting yourself (or others) and can be a catalyst for change.
However, keep fear on a short leash to make sure it remains proportional to the situation at hand. You can do this by acknowledging and articulating it and then replacing it with the facts, positive thoughts and outcomes, and working your action plan.
Don’t let fear control you.
Tame it once and for all.