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All About Fear

Written by: Ryan Light, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Did you know that you are each born with only two fears?

  1. The fear of falling

  2. The fear of loud noises

All other fears you experience in life are learned.


Unfortunately, many of those fears are ones you learn through trauma.

What is Fear?


Fear is often described as:


False

Evidence

Appearing

Real


At the root of fear lies your need for control. This stems (most likely) from growing up in an environment that was either controlled or was completely out of control.


Fear lies at the heart of many of your struggles. For example, panic sets in the more you attempt to control the anxiety, increasing the panic. This sends you spiraling into a state of ultimately fearing the fear.


Types of Fear


There are two main types of fear you may experience:

  1. Fear of the Past

  2. Fear of the Future

Your fears of the past revolve around "What Was." You're afraid that whatever is happening in the present could become a repeat of what, at some point, occurred in the past. This fear is also known as Complex Anxiety and is where rumination sets in, along with those feelings of guilt, regret and shame. A combination of some or all of these can lead you directly into a state of depression.


Now your fears of the future lie in "What If?". This state of fear is where you tend to fixate on events that haven't and might never even occur. This is also known as General Anxiety, which tends to produce feelings of anxiousness, stress, and overwhelms.


Hierarchy of Fears


There are five steps to the Hierarchy of Fears:


1. I Won't Exist:

  • The fear of death.

  • The fear of being invisible.

  • Loss of connection with self.

2. I'll Be Invaded:

  • The fear of being exposed.

  • The fear of judgment.

3. I'll Be Humiliated:

  • The fear of embarrassment.

  • The fear of being wrong.

  • This fear can lead to deep-seated shame.

4. I'll Be Rejected:

  • The fear of people not liking you.

  • The fear of not being enough.

5. I Won't Be Myself:

You can either work your way down this hierarchy from 1 to 5 or reverse order from 5 to 1. Most begin at number 5 (I Won't Be Myself) because of having no idea who you indeed are.


You can begin working through and breaking this cycle of fear through the processes of mindfulness. One such mindfulness technique is what I describe as "putting your fear on trial."


Putting Fear On Trial


When you are in a triggered state, it's pretty easy to get swept up in thoughts and stuck in your story. This will only exacerbate your fear and heighten those feelings of panic.


Utilizing a mindfulness technique such as "putting your fear on trial" will allow you to remain present at the moment and reach a conclusion based on facts instead of feelings.


I would highly suggest you practice this technique when you don't need it. That way, you won't feel caught off guard when you become triggered and will be able to walk through this process more quickly.


So, when fear is triggered, ask yourself and answer the following questions in order:

  1. What is it that I fear?

  2. What do I fear?

  3. Is my fear based on something in the PAST or the FUTURE?

  4. What evidence do I have that supports this fear?

  5. What evidence is there that this fear will genuinely come to life?

  6. What is the probability/guarantee that this fear is going to happen?

  7. Is this fear 100% true at this very moment?

  8. What FACTS do I have to support this fear right here, right now?

  9. What choices do I have? Do I continue to fight this fear or sit with the feelings and allow the anxiety and panic to subside?

It would be best to be completely honest with yourself for this process to work. Remember, the time and effort you put into working through these fears are for YOU and your healing, not anybody else.


Fighting the fear and panic will only prolong it or even worsen. Make sure to look at both sides to assess the situation and reach a logical conclusion.


And don't forget:


PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!


How to Live Life Alongside Fear


Struggling with any fear can lead to both debilitating anxiety and/or depression.


Put the effort to become aware of your fears, practice mindfulness, and put your fears on trial. By learning to allow the feelings in instead of fighting them, you can break free from the prison fear built inside you.


Healing involves repetition. This includes practicing how to live life alongside your trauma and fears. Set aside time each day to work on your recovery, but don't allow it to consume you 24/7.


You CAN heal while still living life at the same time. As I like to say, "Don't try to boil the ocean!". Start with a tiny thing, and work on that. Through hard work, repetitiveness, and time, you'll see how those small things eventually turn into the big stuff… and also how fear will begin to lose its hold on you living your best life!


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Read more from Ryan!

 

Ryan Light, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ryan Light is a mental health coach, author, thought leader, and influencer in the mental health space. Having spent 20 years of his life attempting to run, avoid and hide from the pain of his childhood and adolescence. He struggled with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and panic disorder. After contemplating suicide, Ryan decided to finally confront his traumas through what he now coins “Feeling Work” and heal the real issues plaguing him with various mental health disorders. Today, his passion lies in guiding others through their struggles with anxiety, depression, and/or trauma through such avenues as social media, public speaking, self-paced courses, e-books, live workshops, and 1:1 coaching.

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