The Truth About Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are indications of your current mindset. They grow in proportion to the amount of attention you give those thoughts. Like the warning indicator lights on the dashboard of your car, feelings of fear and anxiety tell you something is not right. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to ignore your dashboard indicators, you don’t want to ignore negative emotions. In both cases, they help diagnose bigger problems.

Some people believe you must “conquer” your fears by doing the thing that triggers the fear over and over until the feeling dissipates (public speaking, for example). That is the equivalent of continuing to drive your car with warning indicator lights flashing and expecting them to just go away. This strategy might work for some, but for most people, the fear and anxiety do not dissipate. Your sensitivity to them does. You learn to live with the flashing indicators as you continue to drive.

Here’s the secret: fear and anxiety point to the misalignment of your thoughts regarding a particular experience. Negative thoughts equal negative feelings. Therefore a change in thought can change your feelings, even subtly. We all know this at our core, but when our feelings become so overwhelming, it’s difficult to remember this simple truth. Instead when feeling fear and anxiety, most people try to change their external situation: job, finances, another person, etc.

I’ll give you an example from my personal experience. While writing this blog, my fear and anxiety indicators were flashing. The thoughts beneath included: “I’m not a good writer” and “Writing is hard work.” I tried to “push through it” and began writing with the hope that the feelings of anxiety would eventually dissipate. But inside I knew my truth: I would never continue writing if I had to feel this dread every week. And that’s what most people do—they continue to do the thing that causes the misaligned feeling and try to “get used to it.”

So I decided on a different approach: to meditate first and to choose the thoughts that gave me a sense of peace and fulfilllment. Then I began to write. Now the words flow out of me because I am feeling good, not because I’ve gotten used to feeling fear.

You probably noticed that the title of this post has the words “fear & anxiety” in a much smaller size. I formatted it as such to emphasize my point: fear and anxiety can only be as large as you make them. Choose thoughts for the purpose of feeling good first, then feelings of confidence and peace will replace any fear and anxiety.

Writing from my core,

Mike

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3 thoughts on “The Truth About Fear and Anxiety

  1. It is my thought that fear’s only benefit is to spur evaluation and preparedness. If an event is fearful, it needs evaluation of risk (i.e. moving to a new city that you are unfamiliar with). Once risk is determined to be worth it then a few steps of preparedness to ease the event… beyond that, fear has zero place. Fear/anxiety/worry/guilt… All fairly useless wastes of human emotion & energy.
    -Chris

  2. Pingback: Fell THE FEAR…and write it anyway | Damien G. Walter

  3. Often fear or anxiety are based on a future that we assume will occur. We fear the unknown because we feel we don’t have control over it. Feeling good and living in the moment displace these negative thoughts because we no longer fear the future – we embrace the present.

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