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Fear, what can you do about it?

I had my first panic attack when I was 17. I can still remember what happened: I was on a crowded train and I suddenly became afraid of all the people. I was afraid that I would lose control of myself and that everyone would be looking at me. You can guess what happened: I lost control of myself and my father had to pick me up at a stop somewhere. I couldn't explain what exactly I was afraid of, but the feeling of fear was very intense. For the next few months I was afraid this would happen again, so I became afraid of the fear. Ultimately it brought me a lot because I became a 'master' in overcoming fear. And I learned: it always passes. One day I decided to stop being guided by fear, because the fear was there anyway. I started doing things that I found very exciting or sometimes even terrifying and I noticed that it was very liberating. Fear became my great friend, so to speak. DON'T DARE, DO IT anyway became my motto in life.

What is fear?

Fear can come on suddenly. You may suddenly be overcome by a tight feeling in your chest, sweating, nausea and stomach cramps. But fear can also manifest itself in a moment of total panic and then you may feel like you have to run or experience an intense fear of death.

There are many things you can be afraid of, such as failure, growing older, losing your job/house or partner, losing control, not being good enough. Of course, this list is much longer. Everyone has their own fears and it is impossible to list them all here. All fears have something in common: they usually have to do with a deficiency or a loss. And you often create a vision of the future based on old beliefs.

This deficit can be material, but also the loss of control and self-confidence or actually losing something. And yes! If you are about to lose your job or home, fear is a very logical reaction that SHOULD be.

Know one thing: fear will pass! Anxiety is not a constant state that you are in all day long!*

The waves of fear come and go. It's an emotion. And so you can be completely overcome by this emotion. Very often your fear is not real and you are therefore afraid of what could happen, but still: the fear you feel is REAL.

The very best remedy for anxiety: look fear in the eye.

You could look your fear in the eye in this way:

  • Sit or lie down comfortably. When you lie down, you have no choice but to breathe naturally. Your body does this almost automatically. Are you unable to lie down? Then sit down (with good back support if necessary) and place your feet firmly on the floor.

  • Place your hands on your stomach or one on your stomach and one on your chest.

  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. I know: this can be very difficult, but try it and imagine, for example, that your breathing is like the waves of the sea, or that your breathing opens and closes like a flower.

  • Maybe you should cry now... Then cry, because that will be a great relief. This means that this emotion already finds a way out.

  • FEEL in your body the sensation of FEAR! Where is the fear, where do you feel the fear? Furthermore, you don't do anything just FEELING. You feel your heart beating faster, your muscles stiffening, a tingling sensation, short breath, eyes moving back and forth quickly, jaw stiffening.

  • AND NOW? THIS IS FEAR! Can you try to observe what is happening around you with this feeling? Maybe you see your pet sleeping peacefully on the couch, a cyclist driving by, you hear a song somewhere in the distance, or the wind rustling, you see a flower, or a child running, the sun shining. Maybe it's snowing, it's raining, you hear a bee buzzing, the phone rings, you get a WhatsApp message... CORRECT; EVERYTHING GOES ON... So while you become completely stiff, cramped, feel an oppression that prevents you from going any further, the world around you continues as usual.

FEAR has something to tell you! What message does it have? I am not saying that by looking at fear your problem will be solved! I dare say that you are capable of solving your problems yourself. Remember that FEAR paralyzes and then it becomes extra difficult to solve your problem.

Don't try to suppress the fear by pretending it's not there or by just taking a quick pill. Or to 'think away' the fear by telling yourself not to feel fear. Fear will always look for another way to be heard and seen!

If you like to write, you can write down what you are so afraid of, but you can also take the fear out of your body through dancing, yoga & meditation , listening to music, drawing, baking, knitting, running, swimming or other activities that you enjoy. doing.  

Take the time for yourself

As a yoga teacher, I advise you to REALLY take time for yourself every day, by initially taking time to breathe consciously for at least 15 minutes a day. And to feel your fear. I am not saying that yoga & meditation will make all your problems and fears disappear like snow in the sun. However, it does give you tools to deal with anxiety and stress much better. And too much stress also creates feelings of anxiety. Through breathing techniques and meditation you learn to control your body and your mind . I already wrote in an earlier article that calm breathing creates a calm mind.

Also take very good care of yourself. This means: ensure enough sleep , a tidy house, healthy food and pay sufficient attention to your appearance. Surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with and who love you. Do things that give you energy and that make you happy.

Also try to watch the news less and look critically at series and films that you enjoy watching. Many films, series and daily news stimulate fear and uncertainty. Talk about your anxiety with your friends and family. When you acknowledge the fear, it diminishes.*

In any case, dare to ask for help, or to discuss your fear. A good example of this is what happened during a children's yoga class:

I taught a yoga class for kids a few weeks ago. There were 9 girls in the class. They had never done yoga before. Some were very afraid of what was to come. First one girl raised her hand: “Miss, I'm really a little scared, because I don't know what yoga is at all.” Another girl nodded timidly, “Me too.” she said in a whisper. I sat in a circle with the entire group and first talked about this with them. They were just allowed to be scared for a while, that's not a bad thing at all. After that it was gone and they found the yoga class very fun and enjoyable.

Also know that you are not alone and that there are many people who feel the same as you. Fear is not a good counselor, but you know very well what is best for you.

You are a true hero when you overcome your fears and look them in the eye. COURAGE is your strength!



*Important note: If you have anxiety that is present throughout the day and prevents you from functioning, you may have an anxiety disorder . If you experience this in your life, contact an expert.


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