managing fear

December 19th, 2017

what is going on?

I woke up at 3 a.m. wracked in floating fear. This is not normal behavior, so I practiced using tools to get out of fear, and managed to go back to sleep.

It felt like a dreaded death-type of shroud, an X-ray blanket of fear was placed on my chest. Everything was scary, my husband, kids, friends and relations were all going to die.  It took a few moments to identify the fear, but naming it made me feel a bit better.

I repeated the serenity prayer in my mind: God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. This strong prayer calmed me down in the past, and I counted on it to work again.

New Thought spiritualist Emmett Fox developed a Mental Diet process, which suggests that the moment a negative thought comes to mind, we imagine ‘brushing the thought away as if it were a hot coal,’ so I did that.  Fox suggested practicing the Mental Diet for a week before evaluating its results.  I’ve used the negative brush off approach for decades, and it’s effective.   No focus on details about the fear at all.

My mind said, “You’re afraid, and you don’t know why.  Do not let fear take root inside of you.  Replace the feeling with gratitude.”

I thought about how much I love my soft pillow, and felt cozy and warm.   It was the middle of the night, so nothing could be done about anything.  At that exact moment, I was safe.  I chose not to ‘buy into’ the fear, what it was, and who I thought about.  I’m afraid of everything and fear is an emotion. Emotions are not faucets to turn on and off.   Let the feeling flow through.  My friend told me, “Open the front and back door, let in fear, but do not serve it tea.”

This fear is not real.  It will pass.  I am safe this exact second.  Since I am not the boss of the Universe, I can’t control everything in my life. I did not LIKE feeling it one bit, but acceptance doesn’t have to mean approval anymore.

Love is also an emotion.  I love knowing I’m not the boss.  What a weight lifted!  Survival means I won’t die at this exact moment.  If I do die, or if someone I love dies, I will not be destroyed.  I have lost loved ones before.  It sucks to lose, but I am not God.  I can only relax and go back to sleep.  I chanted the Serenity Prayer until I fell asleep again.

When I woke up several hours later, I didn’t feel as frightened. Writing about struggle is the way to go, so I wrote this blog.  Maybe someone will benefit from a couple of suggested ideas.  Telling the truth makes things better. I promise.

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