What Is This?
This exercise works best to help with a fear related to taking action, making a decision or dealing with a situation you’d rather not have to face. It is meant to help draw out the specific causes to anxious thoughts and feelings you’ve been having, and help you turn them into useful actions. For help with a phobia — or to clear a post-traumatic stress response — it’s best to see an experienced and licensed mental health professional, like someone who does Rapid Trauma Resolution Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or hypnotherapy specifically for phobia relief (read about my experience of getting free from a lifelong phobia in 5 minutes).
As sure as there is day and night, there are seasons in our lives. Naturally, we will encounter major changes or challenges. At times, we will feel stuck, confused, inhibited, or afraid — like we don’t have enough information or confidence to make a decision — or we can’t bring ourselves to take a certain change or step. We face fears all the time, but sometimes one might come along that is just refusing to budge and is holding us back; preventing us from living the kind of life we want and being the people, we know we’re capable of being.
When you want to get rid of a problem, of something that’s holding you back, it’s better to shine a light on it and break up the darkness rather than to push it deeper into the shadows. So to start you'll be really getting on what thoughts, feelings and concerns are actually causing your fear.
It's best to handwrite your answers to the following questions. You can use a journal or sheet of paper. Then, you'll have some options for follow up action steps you can take to break free from the fear.
My Procedure For Facing Your Fear
1. Think about the issue. What sensations do you feel in your body, and how intense are they on a scale of one to 10? One representing nerves you could forget about after being distracted and a 10 being a panic attack. Close your eyes and notice what specific images, words, or sounds you’re hearing that are really triggering or provoking the anxiety.
2. What does your mind imagine are the absolute worst possible scenarios you’re afraid will happen? As you write your answers, really go all out! List what your worst fear is as well as what has a real possibility of happening or what might be most likely to happen.
3. Now rate the damage that each of these worst-case scenarios could cause on a scale of one to 10, one representing an inconvenience and totally recoverable vs. a 10 meaning biblical, epic proportions of f*cked up $h#t — a world war, a plague — we’re talking people actually dying!
4. What could you do to prevent this scenario, or these scenarios, from happening? Get really creative.
- You can help yourself to get creative by employing some lateral thinking. It’s a good way to begin problem solving.
- Once you’ve been super imaginative, now think of ideas that abide by the rules of physics and are actually possible. So, performing a summoning ritual, by the light of the full moon, standing in a stream, gazing into the still waters of a silver basin held in your hands, in order to bring some supernatural being to solve your problems, is no longer a viable option. Get creative but think practical — things you haven’t tried before, bringing in other (real) people, utilizing ALL resources available to you, etc.
5. How could you recover, or what would you do to recover, if any of these worst case scenarios actually did happen? How could you resiliently work through these scenarios regardless?
6. What would it cost you to avoid dealing with your fear or making your decision? If you don’t take action, what will most likely happen? List everything you can think of between what might be most likely to occur to what the absolute worst consequences could be. Thoroughly explore what the total cost of inaction could be.
7. Consider what aspect of your personality or identity could help you to take the action you need in order to face or prevent your fear(s).
- You can also write out as many of your own versions of the encouraging statements below to fortify your resolve. Leave them someplace where you can see them and or recite them out loud daily.
- Because I am a [descriptive adjective + personal role] who values _______ (or believes, or has made a commitment to….), I will _______.
- Because I’ve _______ (an example of an accomplishment or overcoming/surviving a past obstacle), I know I can (or I will) _______.
8. Now take some action and show your fear who’s boss! Most often, the antidote to anxiety is action. Do what you got to do to get that monkey off your back by taking the first or biggest doable action step to dealing with this issue and overcoming your fear right now! This could mean scheduling something, making a phone call or having a necessary conversation, asking for help, investing in a resource, journaling — whatever it is, do it right away. Think "The Antidote To Anxiety Is Action!" If you’re feeling confused or noticing any resistance or hesitation to take action, at least talk to someone whose advice you can trust, be it a professional or a friend; seriously, do something right now!
9. You can train your mind to eliminate fearful thoughts, think more positively taking, and then take any action steps needed. Repeatedly focusing on positive suggestions and visualizations are a tried and true method for personal growth. Plus it's pleasant and relaxing. Many studies have shown positive changes in the brain after a person has meditated, or used a guided visualization daily, in as little as two weeks! Any tool you use will help you to move forward with less emotional discomfort and more resourceful action…
- If you've been dealing with a general sense of anxiety and haven't been able to tell what might be causing it (after being assessed by a functional medicine doctor to eliminate the possibility of certain medical conditions), use my Sitting Meditation to get in the habit of self connection as mentioned in my free masterclass called a Guideline To Managing Emotions. Having a daily intentional time to be aware of your thoughts and notice what's causing you stress gives you a chance to stay on top of it.
- If procrastination has been a source of stress in your life, my Time and A Place recording can help. The suggestions within this session will help you find relief from anxiety as focus on the things that make sense to do everyday in the best time and place for them. It encourages a positive, easy attitude toward creating more order, productivity, self care, ease and timeliness throughout your day. So you take care of all of your needs and sleep well at night.
- If you've been dealing with anxiety about your ability to fall asleep and get a good night's rest, putting pressure on your mind to wind down is the last thing you want to do! It can cause the opposite effect. The point is to help your mind be free to be calm and wonder while you rest until you drift off. Use my Effortless Sleep Meditation as a guide to aid you in this process so you can take the stress off and just rest.
- You can use this New Behavior Generator guided visualization meditation to train your brain to set you up for the most resourceful ways possible of handling things. When you imagine behaving in ways that would prevent your fears, or allow yourself to deal with them as well as recover from them no matter what, you are rehearsing the kinds of thoughts, feelings, and actions that would be best to take.
- If your fear has to do with a situation that is inevitable and unchangeable and you’re afraid of how you will be able to handle it, use my Resiliency Meditation.
- If you need relief from social anxiety, my Calm and Confident guided mediation prevents self-consciousness when interacting with others by rehearsing what to focus on instead.
Check out the other guided meditations that can help you relieve stress and anxiety by going to my store.