Coronavirus. A plummeting stock market. Political bickering and banter. Wars and rumors of wars. If you look at the headlines, fear could easily wrap its tendrils around you, squeezing you into nonstop panic mode. Fear overtakes thoughts and overwhelms life, if you allow it to, but you don’t have to succumb to fear.
Following are tools to help tame fears:
Disregard Prognosticators of Doom
Have you noticed people often gravitate toward worst case scenarios?
I remember my first baby shower well. One person told a labor and delivery horror story and others in attendance joined in, each attempting to top the other. By the time the party was over, I was sick with fear and dreading the birth process instead of looking forward to seeing my child.
People love to tell embellished stories of life experiences or current crises. However, no two situations are alike, so don’t assume your experience will mirror those of prognosticators of doom. Even if what you are facing turns out to be difficult, it likely will not be as horrid as others predict.
Examine Underlying Issues Related to Fears
Fear has layers, and often those layers are related to negative past experiences.
In 7th grade public speaking class, we had to stand in front of the class and deliver a previously prepared speech. About a minute into my speech, two girls in the back of the room burst into laughter. The teacher should have chastised. Instead, I got a bad grade because I stopped in the middle of my speech and asked them why they were laughing.
I’ve learned a lot about public speaking since the 7th grade, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious, at times, before I stand behind a podium. Putting aside longstanding fears takes focus and practice.
And then there are those irrational fears, the kind that don’t make sense to others, but are very real to you. If a family member or friend died from an infectious disease, the intense coverage of the spread of Covid19 is sure to arouse fear, even though the likelihood of your dying from the virus is slim.
Many fears trace back to childhood and may be more difficult to deal with. Realize that as an adult you are better equipped to face fears and tame them. Getting help from a professional counsel to address fears and move beyond them will free you to experience life more fully.
Push Fear Out of the Driver’s Seat
Fear is a tyrant, an unwelcome companion that insists on accompanying you, seizes control, and takes you to destinations not of your choosing. Fear demands its way, and usually brings its twin, anxiety, along for the ride. Fear creates self-doubt, saps courage, and paralyzes forward motion.
When fear attempts to worm its way into a position of authority, firmly push it aside, by realizing fear only has as much power as you give it. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if your fear became reality. Then acknowledge that, most of the time, what we fear never becomes reality, or reality is not as bad as fear painted it.
Quiet Fear with Faith
Headlines inspire fear, with words like deadly, dire, dangerous. While world health crises and natural disasters shouldn’t be taken lightly, creating and feeding an atmosphere of fear is detrimental to everyone.
Faith is the antidote to fears both real and imagined. Sadly, many do not tap into the power, peace, and presence faith provides. God is faithful to strengthen, support, and infuse with courage to face fears, move beyond them, and help you through any difficulties that lie ahead.
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 MSG
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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