The other day my car wouldn’t start. It just refused to start up. It’s one of those modern ones with no key. Fine when they are working, but when they aren’t, there’s not much you can do. I left it where it was in the car park and the next day, I went back to get it and it started immediately. I wasn’t surprised, as it had been doing this stop/start charade before Christmas when I had it towed the 50 miles to the car dealer to fix.
The uncertainty arises about whether the car is going to start, either now or in 2 hours time, or even tomorrow. My thoughts begin to change. What about the events on that weekend? How am I going to navigate those? Rather than feeling secure and supported, my thoughts move to scenarios of where I could be stranded and what I was going to do. If I should take the car somewhere and whether I should drive it at all, especially at night.
What is more interesting is how my body reacts. I can feel by head tighten from the thoughts that don’t serve me. My stomach knots and I need to run to the toilet. I try to relax and yet my mind feels heavy, a headache develops from stress and I can’t concentrate.
Take Back Control
Already momentum is taking control, so I use a mantra to gain control over my thoughts. I think of scenarios where I feel relief. “If I’m stranded it will only be for a couple of hours, then it will start again.” “I can always get a taxi if I need one.” “I won’t be driving late at night so it won’t matter if it doesn’t start then.” “When I pick my son up from work, I won’t turn the car off.” “I can call the car dealers next week when they’re open again.” “It will all work out.” “I’m not alone in this.” “After all, it’s only a car.” All of these thoughts help neutralise the self defeating spiral.
To do this, you begin changing your thoughts to those that are neutral ad give relief. Slowly keep directing them to those that are more positive. It helps you take your power back. You’re building a bridge from where you don’t want to be to where you do want to be.
Often people become fearful of something they don’t have control over but instead of allaying the fear, they feed it. If you allay the worrying self-talk, a solution can appear, but if you don’t do anything about it, it will grow. Allowing fear to grow has consequences. These can be anxiety and paranoia. If you do this often, it makes sense that your health will suffer. When fear dominates your mind, then your body will display symptoms of those dominant thoughts.
Manifestation of Fear
For instance, the first manifestation will be your mood, the next will be how it feels in your body (headaches, gut churning, insomnia, neck, jaw etc). These are your indicators that fear is controlling you and you are not in control of the fear. It’s also an indicator of what is to come. If you don’t like these manifestations, then you aren’t going to like what momentum in the same direction brings. When you don’t do anything to control the fear thoughts early on, your indicators become stronger with the momentum you are creating.
Long term fear, or a pattern of worrying, will stress your body in different ways. It will be more than a headache or an upset stomach. You can’t internalise fear and not have it affect your body. It’s rather like adding curry powder to your casserole and then wondering why it tastes like curry. The flavor is changed by the addition of the spice, just as your body is changed by the addition of chronic thoughts of fear. You do not think apart from your body. It is all connected.
There will never be a time when we no longer fear something occasionally. But it doesn’t need to control you. When you practice taking your power back, by talking to yourself in a more and more positive way, you can use this method for whatever fear arises in your life. Whether it is a car not starting, or a family crisis. Use the mood map to guide your path to a better and better mood.
Establish a Solid Bridge
‘Fake it ’til you make it’ probably won’t work here as you can easily internalise that fear. That means it is still alive and multiplying. You really want it to be faint and ineffective. That’s what you’re going for. So establish a really solid bridge by practicing changing your thoughts to neutral and then better feeling and look for things to distract you in between. Ask yourself the question “What if this wasn’t happening, how would I feel then”?
In this way, ‘being in the grips of fear’ is temporary. You are the one who is in control and you really want to align yourself with a solution and not the problem.
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