Teaspoon of Happy Defeating the Fear Monster Sarah May Bates

Many of us use worry and fear of a way of preparing for the worst: we’re already feeling it so it won’t feel so bad when it happens. It will buffer the impact, so to speak. But fear is an illusion. It lies to us, promoting the worst possible outcome. It’s a projection of our future based on overwhelming feelings. Feelings that cause us to be paralyzed, that deny us our logic and power. This may sound simplistic, but when you get into a place of fearing the unknown, remember that you are not psychic. You cannot predict the future, and even if you do have a pretty good sense of something to come, nothing – literally nothing –  is solved by worrying about it. In fact quite the opposite.

Yes you can absolutely do proactive things to promote a better outcome in a future situation, meaning take literal actions that will affect it. But fear is not one of those things. And past taking every physical action you can toward a certain outcome, you have no control over the future. Even if you are psychic.

What can we do then when worry and fear set in? Feelings of self-doubt, a fear of something emotionally painful, physically painful, an uncertainty, even a certainty of an impending doom. Let go. You cannot change it, and you cannot know it or how it will feel. If it happens, it will happen. Let go and accept that this thing might be, and if it is, it will be okay. You might hurt, and you might feel pain, but you will move through it, because you have your self. That self is greater and more powerful than you realize, and it heals. And if that self needs back up, it will ask for it from friends.

Yes, the actual physiological benefits of fear are there for a reason: adrenaline helps us to have heightened reflexes and speed to flee from harm. But other fear and worry does us no good. It makes us sick, it draws energy and strength, causing us to make decisions from more “from the hip”. Fear makes us like a cornered animal: desperate and ready to bite or run. So how to let go so that you can stay in your moment? It starts with the intention, and then it becomes a process. When you get filled with stress and worry and fear over the future unknown, stop yourself and calm down. Remind yourself that you do not want to feel this pain of worry. Breath. Maybe take a walk and have some iced tea or a Popsicle. And remind yourself that you will do everything that is in your control, and then past that, it’s out of your hands. And that’s okay, when it comes, you will deal. What matters is what you do with right now, because that’s what you can affect. Focus on today and what can you do to make it positive and healthy, or even what you can do to make your emotions more positive and healthy. If the thoughts of “what will happen tomorrow or the day after that” start up again, stop yourself. That’s another day. And you don’t exist there yet, remember?

Put simply, stay in the moment you are in right now. That’s the one you have control over, and that’s the one you live in. Not the one to come. All that fear and worry is doing is tinting your moment into something dark and cloudy and filled with pain. It is unnecessary hurt. I don’t undermine the severity of possible events. I know that some events and factors can cause a lot of harm to our lives that are very difficult to move through. But I also believe that everything can be conquered with time and with will. Despite the seemingly insurmountable, we can give ourselves happiness in our lives by simply deciding that we want to stay in a peaceful mindset; that despite all that is scary or negative, we want to remain positive as we live. Worry robs us away from our today, one that might be pretty okay or even great.

It’s not like taking a pill or flipping a switch, but an intention to forgive yourself the job of worrying provides a bit of relief. And that relief amounts to more of your life and your energy well spent. I feel we are very often wrong about what we predict in our future, and our ability to handle it. If you can move past the cloud of fear, you might find you’re amazed at how okay you really are.

Happy Sunday, and much love to you. xox Sarah

Featured image via LicenseCopyright All rights reserved by AlteringSight on Flickr

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  1. Hey Sarah, thank you so much for your article. Every now and then, when I’m really uncertain with me my life, the fear monster takes over. Especially when I lie in bed with no distaction, my thoughts are running like stressed out bunnies (I also started to call them “the bunnies” :)…I found out that something like a mantra I keep saying to myself helps me to calm down…it’s something like “everything is ok and is like it has to be!” That helps me a lot! And it also helps to see that everybody has to struggle with diffuse fears of what might be! So thank you for sharing your thoughts on that! xoxo Julia

    • Oooh I like that one! Thank you for passing that tool along. Yeah total bunnies. They get outa hand if you don’t shut them up – for me it’s usually at the end of the day or strangely – the middle of the day on weekends. Not sure why but I definitely have to get my calming-juices flowing. xox

  2. this is a good one! your words of wisdom certainly touch a lot of people, you should feel proud : ) I’m gonna start eating more popsicles. thanks!

  3. I have to admit that I’ve recently let the fear monster take over. I got some bad medical news that will affect my future. But, I have a lot of good things on the horizon, but it’s CHANGE (which I suck at) and so my anxiety and worry have been at an all-time high and have been manifesting themselves in odd ways. I have to remember to stay present and to just do what I can. Thanks, Sarah, as always.

    • Girl, I feel you about the worry. It’s so difficult to stop especially when you are facing something scary, but I believe you are too open and too driven and ever-changing (as I have gotten to know you). One thing I realized about myself recently – is that a lot of the things I thought about me, were my “myths” and no longer true. They were things that I told myself that I was like – when in fact I had already shed those traits long ago. Perhaps ask your friends and loved ones what they think of when they think of you. I bet you are much more adept and change than you perceive yourself to be. Thanks as always for your comment xoxoxox Sarah

  4. Ive recently been going through this a lot of myself and it was your blog about controlling your thoughts that I kept reminding myself of whenever negative things or fear started to pop up. I have made a major recovery from where I was a few months ago to now. I feel like I am on cloud nine and even if things happen that totally suck I am learning to let them go in the moment because they are so not worth this naturally happy high that I have been on for almost 7 days now and its the best thing ever. thank you for always your great words of wisdom xoxo.

    • Holy crap Alycia you make me wanna cry at my desk like a baby! You are so sweet to say that and that fills me with happiness reading it. Thanks so much for the comment xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Sarah

  5. Hello Sarah

    Once again, thank you for this. It was really helpful – for me, this is the reminder of all reminders – acknowledging deep safety is far better than living in fear. It’s taken me a while even to acknowledge this, and I still forget, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed in my situation for as long as I have. Ii was really struck by certain words – especially ‘paralysed’. You see, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have Cerebral Palsy and use an electric wheelchair. Whilst it doesn’t strictly paralyse me, I get spasms which are triggered by stress, so I know that I internalise my worry and it affects me in a physical way. Things are hugely better now that I know this, because I can change my thought pattern, but I still get stuck. So thank you so much, yet again, for your wonderful words.

    Love, thanks and Namaste from England,

    Jessi xx

    • OMG thank you Jessi. You definitely touched a nerve with me in your comment. I am deeply moved. I had a similar “lightbulb” about myself yesterday! I definitely don’t take those lightly – as they are keys to understanding ourselves. I used to dismiss them but they are definitely self-knowledge. I am so glad that you liked the piece. xoxo Sarah

  6. Amazing story – really touched a nerve. Some beautiful words to remember every day. thank you!

  7. Oh, Sarah, I can’t begin to explain how good this is for me. I’ve even thought about asking you to write a piece like that, this is an important matter to me. I practially live with the fear of tragedy. With the fear of something horrible will happen. Sometimes, it’s like I half expect it to. I realize how ridiculous and unreasonable that is, but still.
    One of my dear friends once told me that when you fear something, you are sort of ‘summoning’ it your way. I try to keep that in mind.
    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m sending you my best wishes and good positive vibes! xx :)

    • OMG Amalia – we are exactly the same that way – and it is totally crazy-making. I literally have to tell myself that I am not psychic every time I start doing it. Because it’s true! I can’t predict anything ever!! Just hold tight to that :) xoxoxo thanks for your comment

  8. I really do just adore these pieces that you write, Sarah. Thanks for this one, I needed it! Happy Sunday =]

  9. Fantastic. This was a good affirmation for staying positive and going with the flow as I perform in my new job :) Thanks, Sarah! Much love.

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