Tips for Dealing with Fear

Schnapp out of it! (Sounding like the Drag Queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race imitating Cher)

(No Drag Queens nor Cher were harmed in the making of this blog. Well actually, no Drag Queens, RuPaul, nor Cher have any affiliation with this blog, or actually know it even exists…)

I have a new obsession!  Well, technically it’s not that new, because I’ve been binging the show RuPaul’s Drag Race ever since before the 2020 plague started.  In my mind I am best friends with RuPaul.  We hang out, dance, I make him laugh! It’s a wonderful imaginary relationship!

I even have a list of women who I’d love to see played on the Snatch Game like: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence as Mama, Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers! At this point I know you’re probably wondering, “What in tarnation does this have to do with dealing with FEAR”?  Well, I’m glad you asked, you see my FEAR is that one day there may not be a RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I will have to go back to my boring normal life binge watching everyday programs like the news.  (Oh, the humanity!)

Is that a real fear?  Most certainly not!  I can’t see my IBFF (imaginary bff) ever letting that happen.  He’s having just as much fun producing that show as I am watching it.  So, you see, the fear is not real, it is made up in my head, but my brain BELIEVES that it’s real.

However you want to break it down, FEAR is very real in our day to day lives.  Sure, we’ve all heard about the fight or flight response, that old example of the caveman being chased by a hungry tiger causing an adrenaline rush (and the peeing of the pants).  BUT, when we experience that same fight or flight response because a beetle the size of Aruba is sitting in the middle of your living room floor (not paying rent mind you) and you imagine that it will leap into the air, then stick to your face like the predator in the movie Aliens, well my dears, that is not a real fear. (Sidenote: if that really did happen though, it may provoke a peeing of the pants for sure!)

If we look back on our lives, there were many times that we were exposed to fear and made it through the other side.  Sure, some of our fears are for real self-preservation, like walking alone in the dark, that’s when we trust our gut. 

Then, what can we do to understand and better deal with fear?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because here are 5 tips:

  1. Breathe – Just breathe.  When you are feeling anxious or angry, then just breath.  There is technique called Box breathing.   Box breathing is a powerful, yet simple, relaxation technique that aims to return breathing to its normal rhythm. This breathing exercise may help to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus. It is simply done by breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, breathing out through your mouth for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and repeating up to 4 times. Go ahead, try it!  Right now, this very moment.  We’ll wait…
  2. Understand that nothing lasts forever, not the bad, nor the good.  Think back to a historical time that you were very anxious about an activity. Realize that it was a historical time, that it passed, that you managed through it, and came out the other side. When we’re feeling anxious or afraid, it’s hard to realize that “this too shall pass”, but it is true, and it will.
  3. Imagine the worst thing that could happen – then plan from there.  Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it works.  Let’s say I’m afraid of giving a big speech in front of hundreds of people.  What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, I could just stand there on stage in silence and become so frightened there is once again a peeing of the pants! But the reality of that is unlikely.  I make a plan; I write a speech and practice it in front of the mirror and force my friends to sit and listen beforehand.  Now I’m more prepared and feeling confident.  Whew! crisis averted.   I feel better already. Working things out from the worst possible scenario helps ease anxiety.
  4. Talk about it.  Often when we feel fearful, we don’t want to share this with others because we think that people might think less of us.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  In today’s society, we are encouraged to share our vulnerability with others; to show we’re human, and all humans have feelings we can’t control.  Sure, we can manage our body’s reactions to the fears, but overall, we cannot control feelings themselves, they will emerge regardless.  So, find a trusted friend, family member, a confidant, a co-worker, and talk it out.  They say a problem shared is a problem cut in half.
  5. Realize that EVERYONE is fearful. Period!  There are very few rare folks in this world who have absolutely no fear for one reason or another, but this is a very small minority of all the people.  Understanding this will help you manage through your fears.  Afraid of interviewing for jobs?  Do some research on the inter-webs.  Afraid of getting a divorce? Find that happy divorcée and go have coffee to chat about the process. Changing your mindset helps release the fears.  The next time you think “Geez, I don’t really want to…” rephrase your statement in a positive way. From “I don’t want to play tennis; I’m the worst at tennis!” to “I’ve played a little tennis in the past, and I’m still a beginner so I’m willing to keep trying and have fun”
Photo credit: All images are from Pixabay.com or Pexels.com Two glorious royalty free photo sites.