A self-coaching exercise to dissolve fear and worry
When I was in my young twenties, I would often find myself in a hopeless loop of negative thoughts and, as a result, it led to anxiety about many things, from worrying about being judged to obsessing about perfectly fitting each person’s criteria of me. Due to my low self-esteem, I created an endless pattern of worry and anxiety trying to live up to my own imagined expectations, and as a result I would sabotage my future before I had even got there! I became so used to thinking in this way that it became a default pattern of feeling unhappy and powerless. I felt drained and stuck until I decided I needed to change something.
In this fast-paced, modern age, and with so much responsibility, it’s no wonder our thoughts can get a little muddled from time to time. How often do you agonise over making a decision, taking an action or imagining the worst possible outcome? We are often held back by fear and, generally, the time we spend worrying is related to our perceived outcome of the future. Fear is simply an emotion about something that hasn’t happened in present time. Even though we can generate a little wasted energy mulling over uncomfortable situations from the past, the worry can still be about what may happen as a result (future). For example, trying to control what someone might think about you as a result of your behaviour, or what they might do or say behind your back.
Some common unconscious fears are:
- Fear of rejection.
- Fear of failing.
- Fear of being judged.
- Fear of being seen.
- Fear of embarrassment.
- Fear of losing someone.
These fears all lead into something that prevents us from taking action and can be very draining on our emotions, but it’s good to be reminded that your subconscious mind always has a positive intention. So when you think about something painful, it will want to protect you and move you away from pain and into pleasure. If you have been rejected in the past and the experience hurt in some way, you will likely fear being rejected again because subconsciously you remember that same feeling of vulnerability. The truth is that if we lived our lives continuously avoiding pain, we would never evolve and grow. There will always be times when things feel a little uncomfortable, but it’s often always ok in the end, right?
A good technique to manage any overwhelming thoughts and fears is to grab a piece of paper and split it into three columns:
1) Write out your list of worries and fears, no matter how ridiculous. Write out the worst possible outcome for each fear or worry.
2) Write out what your positive intention is behind the initial worry or fear and the solution to it. This will help to rationalise and connect to any subconscious block, and as a result you can then reprogram these thoughts with positive affirmations.
3) Reframe each negative sentence into something powerful and uplifting. For example; “I am worried I am not good enough at my job”; switch to “I am powerful and valued for my work”.
Notice what comes up as you move through the exercises and also notice what your subconscious mind is trying to protect you from - the results could be very interesting!