How to Manage Fear and Anxiety Mindfully

FEAR. Everybody knows how awful it feels. What if you have an ongoing, long-term fear, an anxiety, or an automatic negative feeling triggered by external circumstance? How to deal with it mindfully?

This post is not for everyone, but I am throwing it out there for those of you who are starting to get in touch with your inner self, raising awareness of your inner world, and are starting to practice managing negative energies which you feel inside your own body and mind.

Rather than go into details of the long-term effects of holding fear based energies and thoughts inside you, I would like to address how to manage that energy or feeling, and help it dissipate.

I have been dealing with anxiety since childhood, and in my early 30’s it culminated in an unfortunate outburst in the office, which involved the HR department, the legal team, and a strong recommendation that I speak with a therapist Long story short, rather than prescribe meds too treat my anxiety, a smart doc referred me to meditation, and I have been meditating for 18 years. I can’t teach you to mediate in a blog post, but those of you who are in tune to your internal energies will know what I am talking about.

Fear, anxiety and automatic negative thoughts can be debilitating, especially when you allow them to spin your mind out of control. I know first hand how damaging this can be to your job, your relationships and your family, when you are a pressure cooker waiting to explode. So here is my best explanation on how to manage fear and anxiety.

ACCEPTANCE. Don’t try to fight it, ignore it, pretend it isn’t there, or force yourself into positivity when you feel the presence of anxiety inside you. Accept the fact that you are anxious or fearful right now, then do your best to relax with it.

AWARENESS. Remain in awareness of that bad feeling and pay attention at all times to where it is within your body. If it is in the pit of your stomach, your heart or throat, stay aware of its presence inside you. If you know how to manage its movement, do not allow fear or anxiety to rise up to your mind. Keep it below your throat chakra. Again, do not force it down. Forcing anything will have the opposite effect and you will explode. Your awareness is an important tool and you can shift your awareness into a lower part of your body and the fear energy will move there. The goal is to keep your mind clear of that energy, and awareness of it will make it flow south (away from your head). The reason you shift your attention to your lower extremities is to prevent fear, anxiety or negativity from rising into your mind. If you have ever had an anxiety attack you know that this is where it can really do some damage. It can lead to mental paralysis, or a complete meltdown. You can really damage your external world by allowing that energy into your head (where it becomes a part of your reality).

Using your awareness, fist shift your focus lower and lower to move the energy down toward your belly. It’s a very powerful and stabilizing feeling to realize that you can move feelings around your body, and that you have the ability to separate your mind and body from it. In that awareness, you can see how you have willfully kept that energy away from your brain. Now you see you can move mountains!

Fear is just a feeling. The more you practice managing it, moving it, and staying aware of it, the more powerful you are over it. You realize that you have the choice whether to feel it (Fear can be a useful tool). You can allow it to take over your body and mind, or you can gently and mindfully separate from it.

Now that it is sitting comfortably in your belly you can observe the feeling of fear. Your observation may be enough to make it dissipate. Here it gets more complicated. It depends on how you observe fear. Some people amplify it and others dissolve fear through observation.

If you observe the feeling in a detached way (you are not emotional about that fear, you are not a victim of it, you are a disinterested bystander), if you are passive, the feeling of fear will subside. But if you watch fear actively, get involved with it, get emotional about it, you start to identify with it, and pretty soon you notice that fear expands within your body.

The only thing there is to fear is fear itself.

Read it again. Fearing fear is one of the quickest ways to amplify it, and explode in it. Many of us who have been dealing with anxiety, fear fear because we know how quickly it can overtake our body and mind. Once we start having fearful thoughts our entire reality becomes altered. Those things that no one finds threatening are the end of the world to us, and we can make some awful, truly damaging decisions in that mental place.

Fear is just a feeling, that you choose to feel then identify with it. You can become a very powerful manager of fear, when you mindfully observe it, then direct it away from your head, and separate from it.

A couple of nights ago, I had what most people would find a terrifying experience. I was almost assaulted on the street near my home. Except, I knew how to manage my fear and direct it elsewhere. As soon s I understood that I am in danger, I decided to manage it, my mind and my response. Rather than allow fear to take over, I stayed calm, searched my pockets for anything I could use as a weapon, and chose my response. Long story short, I would have been a statistic had I not scared the crap out of my attacker. He tried to attack me 3 times (it took that long to get home), and each time he ran away from me because I was more threatening to him, I felt so powerful, so in control, so confident that I knew that no matter what happens to me I will be okay. No matter what. I can honestly say this guy was more afraid of me than I ever was afraid of him. I mean that.

I got away, I had a mini meltdown and spent some time acknowledging my feelings. They are okay. I decided how I am going to feel about this incident. Yes, I set an intention about how I will eventually feel, it took me 24 hours and then I slowly moved into relief that I got away. I commended myself on how I handled it, I accepted the anger, fear and anxiety inside me, but minute by minute I was starting to feel a little better by focusing on what I did right, being grateful that I can stay focused and in control, and slowly I felt better, and better, and better. Today I feel really good.

INTENTION is the third step in directing your fear and anxiety. When I first became aware I was in danger, I set an intention that no matter what happens I will be okay. I will remain level headed, I will be calm and in control, and I will be okay. Intention is something you keep making every step of the way. Once I got away, I set another intention that I will accept the incident, that I will process it in my own time, that I will not be a victim, that I will not hate people, that I will not fear people, that I will not identify with this trauma. I set the intention that I will release it, and that I will still love all people anyway.

For a brief moment I thought about buying a weapon. Then I realized that is a fear based decision. I have never lived in fear. I love my city, I walk freely at night, I am never afraid. Having a weapon will make me aware of danger, make me mistrust people. I wont do that. My first instinct was to call my friends and cry about it. Nope. I won’t spread fear to them, I wont take a chance that one of them will make me feel like a victim, and convince me that the world is scary and that people are bad. This is one scary incident out of my 48 years on this earth, I am not going there.

Intention gives you a choice. You set intentions before bad things happen. They are just a light that shines to point the direction for you to go. You also set intentions as bad things are happening. They are your next step, and your next step, and your next step.

If you have anxiety issues like I do I set my intention every morning to get past it, to do whatever it takes to calm myself, to detach, to mindfully remove it from my body, and always to keep the energy of anxiety and fear out of my head space where it can really do major damage to others as well.

Fear, anxiety, and automatic negative thoughts can be managed mindfully. You coddle them with your awareness. This is why it is so important to be focused internally, so that you can recognize bad feelings, acknowledge them, and work with them. You can do nothing about them if you believe that bad things are happening to you and that you are just an innocent bystander. You can do nothing about them with a victim mentality.

You can manage them effectively by making friends with them. Now I see that fear is just a feeling I was afraid of all my life. That uncontrolled, unaddressed feeling lead to anxiety, which wreaked havoc on my life for many years. Now I know how to manage my mind-body connection, choose how I will feel, then coddle those bad energies into submission. Your mind is a powerful tool. Go inward, get in touch with all aspects of yourself, then learn how to manage those energies inside you.

S

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