Living in fear can stop us from doing a lot of things. I, for one, was always fearful, from losing my partner to the grips of another person or the fear of someone else getting promoted over me. Fear my house might burn down, fear of getting fat, fear of getting an eating disorder, fear. I was in living in fear.
I became depressed.
They say there is nothing to fear but fear itself. But fear is built into us for a reason, and it is to prolong our lives. However, our fear is often misplaced with so many medical and technical advances in our fairly safe world. I’m talking about those of us who live in a safe country, like the UK.
However, we can let fear run over us, drag us along with it when we do not need to, but our inbuilt stress function goes haywire. Why is this? Well, we are still designed to walk the savannahs and look out for lions and other wild beasts who may do us harm. We also needed to find food, hunt and gather; it is not until our present-day where everything is freely available that so many of us live in debilitating fear.
I Have a Theory
Living in fear is not a natural state; having moments of fear is natural; it is how we survive. Therefore, if our brains and bodies are designed to fear, then it goes without saying our design can also be the cure.
Let’s take, for example, the human condition; we are built to walk and run, hide and stalk, seek and find. We are not designed to sit behind a desk all day staring at a computer screen. We are also not designed to run indoors on a treadmill staring at a wall.
We still have the natural fear instinct, and it needs to be used; if it is not used, it sits there festering, building up until it becomes a problem. In the end, you are too scared to do anything because fear has taken over.
You need an overhaul. I needed an overhaul.
The Living in Fear Overhaul
How do we get out of this fear mode? Well, the simple answer and the only answer I know of is let’s go back in time. Let’s go back to what our bodies are designed for. Yes, it will be a lot of work, and there is no magic pill, but every time fear strikes me and I get those strange feelings in my belly, I jump up and down.
But Lou, jumping up and down is not going to get rid of my debilitiating fear!
I know this, but the movement is the key part of this. In the wild, we had a right to be fearful, there were lions about, and you had to have your wits about you, but you would have been on the move; you would have been active. You would know the risks, but you had to get out and find food anyway.
On your next trip to the supermarket, imagine there is a lion about. It may seem silly and futile but think about this, if you are scared of going out to the supermarket and walk around in fear of others, then turn them into lions. Exercise your natural fears, dash with the trolley to the end of the aisle, stealthily approach the next aisle. You will be using your fear.
I often walk to my local shops, well I have to. I don’t have a car, but the very act of walking calms my nerves. The quicker I walk, the calmer I become. I sometimes imagine I am being stalked, so I will quickly change direction or go down a side road and pretend I am outwitting a creature. The fear dissipates, and I can then get on with the job in hand, which is buying food.
This process would have been a long affair in the wild, but I have introduced an activity to dispel the fear mingling with others to the back burner. There is only one way I know of to reduce living in fear, and that is to back to basics.
You probably think I am a mad for suggesting this and yes I am, it is official. But it works.
You have to take yourself back to the age of the cave.
A Life Designed to Move
We are full of senses, and they all need stimulating; if we don’t do it, they will start doing their own thing. If you jump at the slightest noise, you need to address this by subjecting yourself to noise gradually; the same thing applies to fear.
You need to increase your level of fear so that you can function on a day to day basis.
Write a list of everything you are scared of, now set up a plan with the easiest fears to conquer first to the hardest fears.
Before you start on your plan, download an app onto your phone designed to deal with anxiety and fear. You need to start with a bit of hypnotherapy first. Trust me, they help, but you might have to try several to find the one that best suits you.
Then look at your list again, is there anything on there which does not feel fearful anymore? If there is strike it off.
Now go out for a walk or a run, whichever you prefer; if you cannot walk, you need to pump your arms or use a manual wheelchair to get the blood flowing through your system.
Once you have built a sweat up, return home and look at your list, is there anything on there that does not seem so bad anymore? If there is, cross it off.
Now we can start working on your list. Every day you want to cross something off. That is why you start with the smaller things first and then move to the biggest things last.
I was scared at my job, and it was making me sick. I was living in fear all the time. So what did I do? I quit my job; of course, my new fear was getting another job, but I made sure the job I did get was what I could do easily, and there would be no pressure. I also made sure I could walk to it.
This job was as a sales assistant, I went from a manager in a large company to working in retail, and I loved it. I didn’t fear losing my job anymore; I was enjoying going to work. I walked there and back; I was on my feet all day, unlike at the office job where I sat continuously. I was lifting and shifting stuff, and I was talking to people. I was doing the modern version of cavewomen.
You need to cross those things off; in your heart, you know what you need to do, but fear of what comes after is stopping you. You can’t keep planning continuously; what if that happens? What if so and so occurs, sometimes you have to do it.
Each day you move more and get away from screen time the better off you will be.
I don’t have all the answers, and maybe this won’t work for you, but it is worth a shot. It worked for me, and I’m passing on to you what I do, and I hope it helps at least one person.
Peace & Blessings x