Tag Archives: Worry

FEARLESS: WEEK #3

On the first day of school, in my first-grade year, we were arranging the alphabet backwards with blocks. It was right after lunch and I started to feel an overwhelming fear. I had night terrors and panic attacks before this, but nothing that happened in a public setting. My heart started pounding, my mind began to race, I literally started shaking. I distinctly remember staring at the door and wondering if I could get to it before the teacher could stop me.

Well, the teacher didn’t even see me. I made it to the door, opened it, and I started running. I ran a little over a mile towards my house. In fact, I made it a few houses down from mine. By that time the school had notified my mom who was waiting outside for me. I burst in to tears as my mind caught up with what my body had done.

In the summer of my seventh-grade year a similar event happened. This time I walked home two miles in the dark. Somehow, being at a birthday party with thirty other pre-teens was scarier than walking across town alone.

Fast forward ten years, a decade filled with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. I am in my twenties and at a party that I tried to avoid in the first place. Things were going ok, listening to music, joking with friends, and then I started to experience the same old fear. I had matured enough to not simply burst out the door and run home. I politely excused myself, and told the woman I was with that we needed to leave. We went for a long drive until the fear passed.

I did things like that so often in my early adult life that a few of my friends thought I must have a secret life. One asked if I had a child at home, because I was always leaving early or disappearing. Another wondered if I “worked for the FBI or something like that.” I never had a problem fitting in or making friends, but I had a very difficult time building deep relationships.

Fear controlled all my decisions even if it wasn’t present at the time.

I was the master of avoidance.

Fear is a natural response to a dangerous situation. When the brain senses danger it floods the body with adrenaline. The heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid, and pupils will begin to dilate. Blood starts flowing into large muscles in the extremities, preparing the person to take action. All of this can happen in a matter of a seconds. This is an amazing gift. It empowers us to fight for our lives, or run for safety.

There are different reasons for high anxiety and panic attacks. The reasons, be they stress, loss of a loved one, chemical imbalances, or other medicals conditions all trigger the same reaction that an actual threatening situation would bring about. Your personality type, your diet, your overall health, and more variables can all play a part in the frequency and intensity of anxious episodes. There are many causes for irrational anxiety, that is why there are many beneficial treatments. As I said in week two, the goal is for you to find what works for you. But I do believe the methods shared in this series can help anyone and for many will lead to conquering irrational fear.

Here are things we should acknowledge, actions we should take (both from last week), along with some attitudes we should adopt.

Acknowledge these ideas when fear shows up.

  • Allow the temporary emotion and physical results of fear.
  • Accept that they can’t hurt you.
  • Don’t blame yourself or feel guilty.
  • Realize millions of people have felt like this.
  • Most people who struggle with fear are highly intelligent and incredibly creative.

Actions to take when fear shows up:

  • Set your attitude to “fear is present, I accept it.”
  • Call fear’s bluff, say to yourself “I won’t fear the fear.”
  • Use the energy, burn the extra fuel, take a walk or a similar activity.
  • Pick one small thing to accomplish, then find another.
  • Engage in what is around you, co-workers, friends, read or study.

Attitudes to adopt:

  • Be patient, you will have a set-back.
  • Know that small accomplishments snowball over time.
  • Understand change can be good.
  • Problems are opportunities to grow.
  • Let “What If” thinking work for you.

To elaborate on these attitudes.

Be patient with yourself, when you begin to let fear be present and you push through it, you will have success, and a couple times you will have a set-back. Show grace to yourself. This is the time to re-double your resolve to conquer the fear.

Know that small accomplishments snowball over time. Little victories over fear add up quickly. Celebrate and remind yourself of the ways you are winning. Soon you will be able to look at a pile of victories and your confidence will grow.

Understand change can be good. Many of us have a negative view on change in general. We need to see change for what it is, it can be good or bad. But more important, we need to react to any change in the most positive way possible.

Problems are opportunities to grow. I still need to work on this one. I want to get to the point where problems energize me to find solutions. Too often, my progress slows when I see or even imagine problems that could happen. I need to think of them as speedbumps not roadblocks.

Let “what if” thinking work for you. You are likely creative and intelligent, your mind is powerful. For some people this works against them. You can “what if” yourself into a paralyzing state of mind. But the same brain that works in this way is also capable of creating the positive “what ifs”. What if this turns out better than you think? What if you conquer fear? What if you are free to reach your potential? It is an empowering way to think.

I hope you continue to follow along in this series. I pray you are finding answers and encouragement. I want you to know that victory over fear is not only possible, but within reach. You were designed the way you were for a reason. You have potential for greatness in whatever way you want to define greatness.

Keep pushing forward, be confident, and find the courage to overcome fear.

Next week we will look at ways to Arrange your life so that victory over fear is more likely.

Tom Wise

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FEARLESS: WEEK #2

Have you ever stood in the ocean right where the waves break?

If so, you have been pushed around by a relentless force. Even if you withstand the first few waves breaking on you, at some point you will have to surrender to the power and repetition of the ocean. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, how determined you are, or even how strong you are. The ocean eventually wins.

There are two solutions to this situation, you can go back to shore or you can move out a little further from shore. Either way, you stop getting battered by the waves.

Anxiety can cause a similar situation inside of us. The waves of adrenaline, emotion, and worry crash against us. At this point many people run back to the shore, it makes sense to get away from this overwhelming barrage. Unfortunately, we become conditioned to run to the shore over and over again, or in many cases we avoid the ocean (situations that cause anxiety) altogether. Other people stand their ground and fight the waves of anxiety at the exact point where anxiety is strongest. These people appear to win for a while, but eventual they succumb physically or emotionally to the breaking waves of fear. Continue reading

FEARLESS: WEEK 1

From an early age and for over two decades I was crippled by severe panic attacks. Damaging my growth as a student, the depth of my relationships with others, and my pursuit of a career. Leading to years of depression and struggle.

By God’s grace and with some very practical steps taken, I was able to overcome the panic attacks and all that came with them. After doing research and gaining understanding on the biological, emotional, and physical realities I dealt with, I now see clearly the actions and mindset that can remove this type of fear from a life.

I instinctively took steps to cope and heal, I now understand the reasons behind the steps I took. I want to share these ideas with as many people as possible. Continue reading

31 DAYS TO A BETTER PRAYER LIFE | DAY 20: CONFESS YOUR FEARS

Several weeks ago I was admitted to the hospital with sepsis.  One of the symptoms I had was feeling disoriented.  While in the hospital I was given medicine to help with nausea that also made me drowsy.

As I would drift in and out of sleep I had great difficulty when I would wake up.  Each time I would wake up I was disoriented.  It would take me several minutes to figure out where I was and why I was there.  I was aware enough to know that I would go through this process each time I would come to myself and it created a lot of anxiety. Continue reading

31 DAYS TO A BETTER PRAYER LIFE | DAY 11: EMOTIONS

Our emotions are given to us by God. The spectrum our emotions cover is incredible.

We may be completely overjoyed that expressive words pour out of us, or we may be so crushed with despair that words fail us. Most days we won’t find ourselves at those extremes. Somewhere in the middle is where we live. Depending on our personalities and circumstances we may deal with our emotions in different ways. Emotions are powerful, they can give us hope or they can deflate us. Continue reading