Most of us consider emotions such as fear and anxiety as negative. It’s a part of ourselves that we need to overcome or fix. As high performers we must learn to view fear and the anxiety that comes with it as a valuable gateway to understanding its deeper meaning.
When we dig into the meaning behind fear and anxiety, it typically is not about a direct or immediate threat. It’s usually about the possibility that something bad could happen in the future.
This type of rumination blocks our ability to perform at a high level because that kind of thinking locks us in place. We’re lost in a feedback loop of troubling thoughts. This is where we need to have strategies to use our conscious mind to bring critical awareness to our experience.
Usually we don’t have the presence of mind to do that because it isn’t the way our brain is wired. It’s not part of our default to pause and come back to the present moment. So what can we do to steer ourselves into self regulation around fear and anxiety?
- Regulated breathing with a slower inhale and a longer exhale can calm your nervous system and bring you back to the present moment.
- Resource yourself – deepen your attention and try to get at the bigger meaning around your fear. Is it a fear of failure? A fear of being deficient in some way?
- Understand that fear is your brain trying to protect you. It’s attempting to shield you from that which makes you feel fearful and anxious.
- Shift your perspective – if we begin to see fear as a primal and universal emotion it can help us develop a different relationship with it. We can get more flexible with our response to it.
Strategies like these help us take advantage of the biggest tool at our disposal—our conscious mind—to commit to the growth that comes on the other side of our fear.
– Coach Liane