By: Paula Bianchi –
When I sat down to write this, I thought I was going to write about the mind game of worry, but the more I thought about that topic, the more I realized almost all worry stems from fear. Since fear is the root of worry, I decided to tackle it first.
Fear is not just a mental thing. It affects our bodies as well. When you have a sudden burst of fear, your gut instinct for self-preservation kicks in. Hence, your fight or flight instinct to either run or stand our ground. This is how our bodies react to forces that are out of our control. Our bodies try to warn us and sometimes in the most extreme ways.
Mine sent me to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, but it was just a symptom of me being overwhelmed by the things that were totally out of my control. Finding out that I had a panic disorder was the easy part, learning how to live with it has been quite the challenge because of how it affects my mind and my body.
Our biggest challenge, is dealing with the mental part of fear. If the fear your experiencing runs too deep, you’re at risk of this fear consuming you to the point of never achieving what you want out of life.
For some, fear may affect every aspect of their lives. They’re afraid of going to the dentist or doctor because it’ll hurt, or the doctors may find some kind of disease, or it’ll cost too much, and they can’t afford to go. They’re fearful to seek out mental health care because they don’t want to face their fears.
Athletes, or anyone in any type of competition, have the fear of losing. People in the medical profession are fearful of doing harm to their patient. Parents are afraid their kids will get into trouble or will be abducted and harmed. Others are afraid of losing their jobs or not finding one, and the really big fear, that all of us share, is the fear of death.
The fear of the unknown can hold people back. They’re fearful of facing or doing something they don’t want to confront or do, so when they take a stand that it’s better not to find out, we can see how it hurts them. They continue to believe in their fears, when in fact, there may be an easy solution, but they’re sure their fear is correct. It can be difficult dealing with someone like this especially when there are no facts to support their fears.
Parents are full of fear when they bring their first child home. Some may not have a clue how to take care of a baby, so their fears consist of their abilities to handle any given situation. I remember being a first time Mom and being fearful of doing something wrong or missing something I needed to be on top of. My biggest fear to overcome, was leaving my kids in school or over one of their friend’s houses because of my experience with my molester. I never wanted my child to endure what I had endured.
Children confront many fears when they start school. The fear of fitting in or finding a friend takes center stage in their lives. We try our best to teach them everything we can for survival in the outside world, but it’s a hard task getting them ready for all the negativity they’re going to experience or see.
Seeing a child who’s afraid to go to school because they’re being bullied, is heartbreaking for any parent, and there are many different degrees of mental or physical bullying. If a child keeps all that in and doesn’t share their experiences with their parents, it could lead to a tragic ending.
Children can also be crippled with the fear of someone finding out their secret home life. The one they’re told to never speak of. They suffer in silence. I feel a deep empathy for the animals & children of this world, who are abused by cruel adults. To be affected by the negativity of others, who have no moral compass, is a true crime against humanity.
Sometimes the fears we have can drive us to do something we wouldn’t normally do. We’ll do stupid things, out of fear, to gain someone’s trust, or to keep them from leaving us, and the things we’ll do for love can be boundless no matter what fear is there. Then, we can be left with the fear of not being able to fix what we’ve done, or the fear of not being accepted again.
If you fixate on a fear, you don’t realize how much energy you’re putting into it. By feeding it, you only make it grow, and give it energy to become your reality. Why? Because, where your thoughts go; your energy flows. I repeat this phrase so it’ll become a daily mantra for you to check yourself and your thoughts.
As you can see, this article could go on and on, so here are some ways to help you win the mind game of fear. When you place all your hopes and dreams on one outcome, and refuse to even fathom the possibility of the outcome you don’t want; you may be setting yourself up to receive what you don’t want. A good solution to this is to accept both outcomes. Sure, you can still hope for the desired outcome, but have a game plan for the undesired outcome as well. Making sure you have all your bases covered, will help you to pick yourself up and go on to plan B or C or D. Try being more flexible in how you see yourself obtaining the things you want. Things may not always go as you planned and that’s okay. Maybe the outcome you wished for is meant to happen later in your life. You never know.
If you’re lost in the fear of a secret coming out, then the solution is obvious. Tell your secret because secrets always come out. Don’t let it have any more power over you. But, if the secret is in place to protect someone, you have to plan out how you’ll share it with them in the future. Don’t take it to your grave and let them find out on their own. I’ve seen, first hand, how this can devastate someone.
For all fears that are based on worry, take a moment to evaluate your state of worry. Are there facts to validate your fear, or are you just caught up in the game of thinking the worst? We all know this type of person. You tell them you’re going on a trip, and they list all the bad things that could happen, then they’ll spend their time, while you’re away on this trip, worrying if you’re okay. Worry is self-inflected. Instead of wishing you well, and having thoughts of you having a good time, they choose to think all the worst things that can happen. If you’re like this, or someone you know is, you have to redirect these unfounded thoughts. These thoughts are hurting you and are keeping you from moving forward.
My grandmother, and her mother before her, were worriers. It can be passed down through your family. My Mom tried her best to not worry and follow in their footsteps. I’ve done my best to break this cycle and have adopted the attitude of “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” I try to push worry out of my thoughts. With time, I’ve learned how to redirect those unwanted thoughts making me free of worry. It may flash through my mind, but I quickly debunk it and let it go.
Lastly, there’s the fear we endure for things that are out of our control like: your death or another’s, losing your job/house/car or things you hold near and dear, being in an accident, unintentionally hurting someone physically or mentally, other people’s reactions or what they choose to do, and so on. There are so many things in life that we can’t control, and if you think that you can, it’s all an illusion. When I come up against this type of fear, I recite the Serenity Prayer. It always makes me feel better and helps me to refocus my thoughts.
Fear is a primal instinct, and for some, it can overcome them mentally. We have to learn how to deal with it and move on. If you give it too much power over you, you risk the chance of bringing to you all the negative things you fear. This mind game is tough, but not impossible to win.
My next mind games article will be about being perfect. Click like and follow me if you like me so far. Bye for now.