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7 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Fearful

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

This is part 4 in my series, “Focus on Reducing Anxiety and Fear.”
Part 1: The Cost of Obsessive Anxiety
Part 2: What is the Root Cause of Your Anxiety and Fear?
Part 3: 5 Ways to Prevent Fear from Paralyzing You

“Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.”

—Winston Churchill

Fear can be our friend or our enemy. It can prepare us, instruct us, and keep us safe. Or it can become a huge, threatening shadow that locks us in anxiety, worry, doubt, uncertainty, and helplessness.

Don’t let your fears control you!

Unrealistic and exaggerated fears are paper dragons that have grown fat on negative thoughts and core beliefs that undermine our worth.

  • Recognize the fears that have become paper dragons.
  • Deflate them.
  • Challenge negative self-talk.
  • Reframe situations so you are not held captive by them.

Fear can be a great motivator

Sometimes there are valid reasons to fear. After all, fear is a survival mechanism that tells us to stop, be careful, and proceed with caution.

Yet, we spend too much time paying attention to the emotional response of fear and not enough time identifying what we are afraid of. We can spend hours worrying about the “what ifs” that our mind creates when held in the grip of fear.

7 questions to ask yourself when your fear and anxiety buttons are triggered

1. What valuable information is this fear giving me?

Is this a reasonable fear based on identifiable facts and circumstances? Or is this an irrational fear based on past experiences that have no bearing on what is happening now?

Challenge the fear’s validity. What is the thinking associated with it? Is it valid or old garbage from the past? How can you eliminate or reduce the threat?

2. Am I potentially in physical danger?

If your gut is telling you that you may be in a dangerous situation, stop and look around. Don’t just automatically dismiss the fear. People have been carjacked or assaulted in parking garages because they were too dismissive of that gut feeling.

3. Is this fear protecting me from doing something foolish or careless?

If you are engaging in risky behavior, pay attention to the reasonable side of your brain.

For example, don’t go off marked hiking trails because it looks like fun to go a riskier way.

Don’t spend money on risky investments because someone has told you that you might be able to make lots of money.

If you have a sense of danger, stop and think before acting.

4. Is this fear revealing an insecurity?

Fear of failure reveals your insecurities. Don’t allow the fear of failure to control you, but face it and use it to help you grow in confidence.

5. Is this fear leading me to God?

We have an Almighty God who is in control of the universe – we are not the end-all. A healthy fear of God recognizes this and is both respectful and humbled. God loves you!

6. Is this fear making me feel isolated?

We need support from others. Allow them into your sphere.

7. Is this fear challenging me to get out of my comfort zone?

Perhaps you have been asked to speak at a business function and your palms get sweaty and your stomach turns flip-flops just thinking about it.

Yet, each time you allow yourself to be challenged, you become stronger and more efficient.

If you have a fear of speaking, join a local Toastmaster’s group where you can get the training and experience you need within a comfortable setting and with others who are learning.

Tip of the day

Fears are not good when they keep us from taking the next step out of an unwanted change, loss, or adversity.

Fears are good when they keep us safe and challenge us to grow.

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