Pretty much anyone has had experiences with anxiety. There are always situations that make us experience worries, nervousness, or fear. It’s normal. However, for quite a lot of people, anxiety becomes a part of their daily lives, limiting the opportunities they can find and how much they can enjoy their experiences.
In this post, I will be talking about
- What is anxiety
- What to do when you face any type of fears or anxieties?
- How to deal with anxiety and fear
- How to manage ‘Fear of Rejection’ and ‘Fear of Failure’
What is anxiety?
It is the response our bodies and minds have to something perceived to be dangerous. For example, we might feel anxious before a test if we have a sense that is riding on this exam or when we are walking alone on the street and someone starts following us. Two very different types of perceived danger, but a similar response. If there is actual peril or the possibility of strong consequences that will hurt us in some way, for example, failing to achieve a meaningful goal or being fired, hat means anxiety is doing its job. But what if there is no danger?
We often feel anxious in situations that do not merit it or, at least, don’t merit such a high level of anxiety. Some people are very sensitive to that emotion and experience it as a constant companion. This can be exhausting and hurt their well-being and quality of life.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear
– Jack Canfield
FEAR…..Its one of the worst problems we as humans have been facing since centuries…..It makes people do weird things. It makes people feel insecure, uncertain and anxious, it can even destroy relationships. You might be knowing so many people who would have so many different type of fears.
What to do when you face any type of fears or anxieties?
There are two steps involved when you realize you are fearful of something.
Step 1: Identify the underlying cause of your anxiety
You need to identifying why do you have that fear. You would need to do some introspection to find out the underlying core reason of that fear. This can help you in understanding the situations in which that fear can be dominant. For some people, some traumatic events from past can also cause fears. For example, if someone has been abused by an abuser or has faced narcissist abuse, they might have a tendency to get afraid and fearful in certain situations.
You would also need to understand whether the fear is something small that you can manage on your own or you might need professional help to manage it.
Step 2: Analyse intensity of anxiety and if you need professional help
Sometimes, the level of anxiety is small and can be manageable. But there are times when anxieties and fears grow so much that they get difficult to manage on your own. You need to realize if you need some professional help in dealing with the anxieties.
I would a small anecdote here from my personal life. When I was doing my post graduation, I did realize that I wanted to improvise on my public speaking skills. I was good while speaking in public, but I did feel nervous at times and my throat used to go dry during such instances because of nervousness.
I visited a personal coach for advise on how I could reduce my anxiety related to public speaking, he recommended me to join Toastmasters International, It is an international non profit organization for public speaking wherein the club members support each other in becoming a better public speaker. Shortly after my meeting with the coach, I joined the club and used to go to the meetings every week. Initially I used to feel nervous while participating in impromptu speeches in the club, but I became pretty good within a few months. So, I was actually able to reduce my fear of public speaking by taking action and by taking advise from a professional.
How to deal with anxiety and fear?
1. By Using Affirmations
Affirmations help focus your attention and empower you to change your way of thinking. They can help you relax and counteract your anxiety by targeting different elements of the situation, so you have them ready to go when you need a little help. You can develop your own anti-anxiety affirmations as well.
Affirmations are positive auto suggestions that a person gives to himself throughout the day. Unknowingly, we keep giving ourselves suggestions on whether we would be able to do something or not. A normal person’s daily routine might involve scenarios wherein the person gives himself positive as well as negative auto suggestions. It is really important to look at the half filled glass rather than the half empty one.
For effective results, positive affirmations need to be repeated for at least 21 days in a row (preferably twice a day : just after waking up in the morning and just before sleeping at night).
It is generally said, that a person’s behavior is a sum total of his daily thoughts. Using affirmations can help you in overcoming your fear and stay positive. Daily affirmations help in cultivating a positive attitude and can take a person on a successful journey. If you want, you can check out the article I wrote about seven secrets of success.
Let’s see how affirmations can help reduce this maladaptive anxiety by focusing on a few distinct causes it has.
Letting go of our desire to manage the uncontrollable
One of the central problems with anxiety is a desire to have control, even and perhaps especially in situations that we cannot actually control. For example, we feel that if we behave a certain way, our feelings will be reciprocal. If we are paying attention the whole time in a plane, there will not be an accident. But we do not actually have control of these situations. So letting go of our desire to manage the uncontrollable can help reduce anxiety.
I allow myself to let this go.
I don’t control this, and that is OK.
I let go of this situation. Let it happen as it needs to happen.
This is OK. I am OK. Someone else is driving.
I trust another to deal with the situation.
I allow myself to relax.
It will be fine no matter what I do.
Guilt and responsibility
Sometimes, anxiety comes from feeling we are somehow responsible for the situation we are in. We dug this hole, so feeling worried seems like a logical consequence, however, that is usually an illusion. We are not helping anyone by worrying, but we can be hurting ourselves and reducing our chances at solving the issue constructively. Inappropriate feelings of guilt are tied to the above point: we often feel like we should control the situation and anything that goes wrong must be our fault.
I choose to be free from this responsibility.
I forgive myself.
I allow myself to let this situation go.
I let go of my guilt.
I allow myself forgiveness and compassion.
I can be free of this commitment.
I can walk away from this.
Rumination / Continuously thinking about the same bad thoughts
Anxiety often relies on the habit of ruminating on the bad things.We keep thinking over and over again about the stuff that has happened to us in the past, that might happen in the future, about our mistakes and the judgments others have made of us. Rumination is a bad habit because it does not lead us to any new insights. Instead, we get stuck and get feeling anxious and worried. It becomes a vicious circle. Ruminating is a bit like chewing old gum – it’s not giving you any nutrients or any pleasure, but you just can’t stop. Cutting down on rumination can make a significant difference in your anxiety.
I choose to stop this train of thought now.
I let these thoughts go.
I take control of my mind.
I am empowered and I choose to think positive thoughts.
I think positively about this situation.
I can find the silver lining.
I choose to consider the best case scenario.
I discard the worst case scenario from my mind.
Anxiety is often accompanied by tension in the body and can manifest as a series of unpleasant sensations. By relaxing our bodies, we can also help reduce anxiety and affirmations can help us here as well, by giving us a new focus and a way of helping our tension wind down.
I feel warmth enveloping my body and helping every muscle relax.
I calm my breath and focus my mind.
I feel the tension melt away with every deep breath.
The tension I feel is leaving my body.
I relax little by little.
I leave the tension behind with every step that I take.
I let go of my tension and choose serenity.
Getting stuck in your head
When we feel anxious, we often let our minds wander a bit too far from our heads. They become too focused on the what-ifs, on the past, the future, or the worries that currently dominate our thinking. This makes us feel overwhelmed, as if the world was crashing down and we had nothing to hold on to. Affirmations can help ground us in the present moment and engage our senses to reduce this feeling.
I can see … in front of me.
I can feel, smell, sense, touch … and that helps me ground myself.
I am here and my feet can touch the ground.
I am present in the here and now. This is what is real.
I focus on everything that I can perceive.
As I see the world around me, the tension goes away.
I focus my attention on my breathing. I feel myself relax with every breath.
2. Seek Professional help
Practically, there would be some types of anxieties which you can conquer easily, but there might be cases in which you would be better off by visiting a professional therapist that can help you with the situation.
Just to give an example, some people have a fear of closed spaces, it is called Claustrophobia. It is better to meet a professional therapist for further course of action.
3. By developing Faith In Yourself
Have you ever wondered if fear is fearful of anything ? ‘Fear’ is afraid of FAITH
– In a game, If a player is fearful that he might lose the game, do you think he would be able to give it his best shot? If the player has faith in his abilities that he can win the game, he would definitely play to win and work towards winning.
You might say that it is easier said than done. When a person is fearful, it becomes difficult for the person to be positive and have faith. It might also be a scenario where a person might feel confident in other aspects of his life and might fear some particular type of situation. Faith is something that can be developed with practice. I would agree that yes, it might be difficult initially to be fearless, but if the person implements strategies that can help him/her, then gradually with time, the person can become more confident and can have less fear.
Here is a list of 11 ways how you can start your day with a positive attitude.
Faith has great powers in it. Faith can move mountains. Fight fear by having faith. If you have faith in yourself that everything is going to turn out good for you and that you are going to achieve your goals, If you have built enough faith, then even if any obstacle comes in your path, you would be able to conquer it. You may or may not conquer all your fears at the same, but you can try working on them one by one.
There is an acronym for Fear : False Evidence Appearing Real
As I said above, all of us have some kind of fears. Being very honest, I also used to be fearful of certain situations. I have been in the habit of reading books. There is one book which really helped me in strengthening my faith. It is “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. It is one of the international best sellers of all time. If you want to read this book, you can try the kindle version or get it from amazon. In case, you want to go for the audio version, this is also available on audible.
This book mentions this verse from Bible:
If ye have faith, nothing shall be impossible unto you.
In simple English, it would be: If you have faith, everything shall be possible to you.
Its just a matter of having faith, having belief in yourself. Whatever fear you have, just remove it by filling your mind with thoughts of FAITH.
Your true opinion of yourself is important
For example, You can tell yourself that your opinion matters to you more than the opinion of others. Then you can say a positive affirmation to yourself that
My opinion of myself matters the most to me.
Repeating this affirmation would help you develop faith in yourself and have faith in your opinions. This would help you in gaining confidence.
4. By Using Visualization technique
Visualization is a process which helps in manifestation of your dreams. It helps make your dreams a reality. It is a process wherein a person generally sits in silence, preferably at a location where she would not be disturbed, then the person would close her eyes and imagine that whatever he wants to accomplish has already been accomplished. The person tries to imagine and feel the accomplishment in detail. By using this technique on a daily basis, the person begins to attract his dreams and they start manifesting into reality.
It is not necessary to sit on a yoga mat to do visualization, a person can do it while sitting on a sofa or chair as well.
5. By Doing Meditation
Meditation is a process that helps you be more aware about your inner thoughts. It creates a positive energy when you meditation. This is something that can definitely help overcome fears. I have written in detail about it. Check this out
How to manage ‘Fear of Rejection’ and ‘Fear of Failure’
What to do If you have fear of rejection?
As I mentioned, the first step is finding out the underlying cause for this fear. Fear of rejection might be because of lack of confidence. Lack of confidence might itself have several underlying causes.
For example, it might be due to:
- Issues faced during childhood
- A low self esteem
- Lack of preparation
If it is because of a low self esteem or because of issues faced during your childhood, then you might need professional help to solve these.
If it is due to lack of preparation, then you can try some strategies where in you can improve your preparation, That might help you in overcoming the fear.
For example, if you have to prepare a presentation and give it to your boss, you might have fear of rejection that your boss might not like your ideas during the presentation. You might want to work on improving your knowledge base on the subject of the presentation and do extensive research and present facts along with citations. Doing this preparation can help you improve your confidence levels and you would be able to have faith in your abilities since you would have done the hard work required for it. If you do this, it might be difficult for others to reject your ideas since you would be backing them up with research.
What to do If you have Fear of Failure ?
First of all, you would need to identify the underlying cause. Once you do that, it would be easier to conquer the fear. You can use either Affirmations or Visualization to overcome your fears.
Imagine yourself as succeeding. Try doing it repeatedly. Tell yourself that you would always succeed no matter what, and if you do that repeatedly, all your fears would vanish away. Even after then, if you fail, then remember –
I believe in myself. I have faith in me.
I have faith in me that I can achieve all my goals.
I have faith that my life is becoming beautiful with each passing day.
This moment is the first moment of the rest of my life !!