Why Do We Trust Our Fear So Much?
The Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers counseling for adults with fear, anxiety, and depression.
No One Has Disappointed Us As Much As Anxiety and Fear
Many people, in navigating their anxious thoughts and fears, fall into all these little traps along the way. The anxiety and fear build and build, until they are left either shutdown or totally overwhelmed. While there are plenty of tools to help people cope with anxiety and fear, I would like to offer a different way to think.
Imagine you had a friend or a coworker who told you all kinds of plans they had for you. This person tells you how your day will look, and they make all kinds promises to you. But when the moment comes, everything this person told you turns out to not be true. The trouble with this friend is that they do this all the time. Everything they say to you sounds so true in the moment, but nothing ever goes the way they say it will.
The real issue is not the friend that lies, it’s that you still trust them.
This is how anxiety and fear work: they constantly disappoint us. Anxiety feels so real. Fear makes so much sense sometimes. But when the moment or conversation we’ve dreaded actually happens, it never goes the way we thought it would. This is because anxiety and fear cannot predict anything. They just make us feel anxious and fearful.
Anxiety and fear are nothing more than strong feelings in the moment–just like anger or hunger or boredom. They may feel true and strong and right, but that may be just all that they are.
Everyone deals with anxiety and fear. How we deal with it makes all the difference.
Here are three tips to help you overcome untrustworthy feelings of anxiety and fear:
1. Ask Yourself: “What are the chances this will actually happen?”
Our fears can become very realistic, and anxiety can create incredibly vivid images in our minds, but rarely do they ever come true. When the waves of fearful thinking start, stop everything by asking if any of that could ever happen. Sometimes a simple question can stop anxiety immediately.
2. Take a minute to just breathe.
When you are anxious, you breathe differently. Your body tenses up, your fists tighten, and you breathe shallow and fast. This is an automatic response to stress. If you are running from a dangerous situation, this automatic response is helpful. But if you are not in a life threatening circumstance, there is no need for your body to think otherwise. To reverse those feelings, sometimes all you need to do is take a couple deep breaths and relax your body.
You have the power to change how you feel, sometimes you just need to remind your body.
3. Learn your triggers.
Fear and anxiety rarely happens without a reason. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? So, when you feel yourself becoming anxious, take some time to go back to the thought or circumstance that started everything. Have you ever found yourself thinking about something ridiculous or a memory comes to mind from forever ago? Make it an exercise to retrace your thoughts. That way when the anxiety tries to take over, you can go back and take back control. When you discover what causes anxious thinking or fearful feelings, you can then find patterns. From there you can make the necessary changes.
We’re Here to Help!
The Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers therapy for adults working through anxiety and fear. If you are interested in finding real support to navigate anxiety, contact us today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation. Call our offices at: (970) 889-8204, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org