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The Blog

Fear

Emily Porta

I found a t-shirt, that I eventually bought, that said "Fear is Excitement without Breath." Have you every noticed your breath when you are afraid, worried or panicked? We forget to breathe! It makes sense if we were in a jungle and being hunted and didn't want to be found...right? But that same instinct exists when we are overwhelmed, stressed, or nervous and yet it does not serve us. When we stop breathing we are restricting ourselves and this can make us more panicked. 

What are you afraid of? People come into my office with a list of things they don't want to talk about or deal with. I understand, we are scared. I am too sometimes. I am afraid of what I will discover. But fear is a response to our imagination. If we are self deprecating, then typically we will imagine a worse case scenario when we are stressed. Our brain cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality and thus it responds to your self created catastrophe in your mind. 

The practice of mindfulness shows us how to sit with fear and look at it for what it is...not for what we create it to be. When you lean into what you fear, fear dissipates and other emotions are allowed to infiltrate the mind. I find when I face my fears, really look to see if it is worth keeping in my life, they tend to be squashed. Yes, there is a good kind of fear. When you are in a traumatic situation, fear can serve to help you survive. I am talking about our daily fears. For some of us that means our fears to commit in a relationship or change careers. For others it might even be a fear to leave the house or try something new. Whatever fears you may have, they keep you chained up and away from experiences. 

Counseling can help with fear. It isn't the complete antidote, but it is supportive while you challenge yourself. Trust me, your imagination is holding you back. Live in reality, live in the now.