If you’ve read, watched, or heard the news lately, you probably know how tempting it is to live in fear. The news rarely gives us stories that reinstate our hope in mankind, but the recent headlines are especially terrible and frightening. They hit close to home.
A friend was telling me how they are finding it hard not to be fearful due to the shootings that have been popping up across the country recently. They are nervous about their safety and the safety of their loved ones. They were hinting at questions I think we all share, “how do we move on from this?” and “how do we do better than this?”
Any time a community faces a terrible tragedy like what happened in Uvalde, Texas, we need to take a step back, work through our feelings, and determine a path forward. Falling into a mindset of fear is not healthy or productive.
Fear will impact your relationships. It will affect your health. It will determine your quality of life. If you have children, they are likely to adopt your fear. This could become your legacy.
If you’re reading this and understanding the negative impact of fear, you are probably wondering, “what’s the alternative?” You can’t just throw off fear and live like there’s nothing to be afraid of. Naivety or turning a blind eye to reality is not the solution.
People have written books and even devoted their lives to finding ways to overcome fear, so I don’t want to undermine the hugeness of this topic. However, I do want to share some basic ways you can overcome the temptation to live in fear.
1. Be proactive.
Possibly the best way to not become a victim of fear is to make a difference in other people’s lives. Choose to support or volunteer with an organization that fights for a cause you are passionate about, become an advocate for kids in foster care, or simply be intentional in your daily interactions. You never know who is silently hurting and needs a kind word.
These small steps may seem insignificant, but imagine a world where none of this ever happened. No organizations stood up for important causes. No one fought for vulnerable members of society. No one ever made a kind gesture. Lots of small steps together add up to big changes.
2. Be self-aware.
Fear is tricky and sneaky. Sometimes you don’t realize it’s running your life until you are going out of your way to accommodate it or making others accommodate it. I’ve found that journaling and setting a morning routine that allows for a time of reflection is useful. It’s all too easy to live each day on the go. When my schedule gets hectic, I can find myself sprinting through each day and then suddenly, running face-first into my own emotional or physical unwellness. You have to find the schedule and activity that help you. Maybe you benefit from running, painting, or gardening. Do whatever gives you an opportunity to check in with yourself and set some goals.
3. Surround yourself with the right people and content.
Take inventory. How much time do you spend consuming fear-inducing content? How often are you on social media? Are the people you spend the most time with also fearful? If so, it’s time to intentionally change the channel in your life. Join a community group or place of faith that can surround you with people who aren’t drowning in fear. Reach out to old friends or family members who you remember being sources of positivity. (Maybe fearfulness created a wedge in the relationship previously.)
Quick tip, consider how much caffeine and sugar you are taking in each day. These do not help stress and anxiety!
4. Be there for others.
Fear makes us selfish. It blinds us to other people’s struggles. It makes us unaware of what people need and how we could be helpful. Believe it or not, your personality, strengths and weaknesses, and life circumstances equip you to help others in a unique way. Fear doesn’t want you to know that. However, being emotionally available to other people often requires a level of emotional health. So keep reading!
5. Seek professional help when necessary.
If you find that your fear runs more deeply than you thought and you need professional help uprooting it, please find that help. Members of my team at Compassionate Solutions are qualified and available, but regardless of whom you contact, the key is that you follow through and make a change.
Friends, please don’t live in fear. Please reach out if you need help. This world can be a scary place, but we can make it less scary by making changes in our daily lives.
Please reach out if you would like to talk.