How to Manage Fear and Keep Calm

In unpredictable or unfamiliar situations, we are brought face to face with our fears which could lead to trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating because fear breeds anxiety and affects the mind and body. As humans, it is perfectly normal to experience this emotion in different aspects of our lives – and all emotions are valid – but we must learn to manage fear rather than be controlled by it.

If you’re finding it hard to remain calm when things just seem to be disrupting life as you know it, here are some tips that can help:

Acknowledge your fears: Knowing exactly what is causing a fearful feeling is a step in the right direction. Allow yourself to feel what you feel without trying to fight it. Shout it into a pillow, write it down in a journal or talk to a friend. Just get it out there in the open where you can work towards addressing it.

Find the positives: When you start to feel afraid, move your attention to the positive things in your daily life. Notice how the sun still rises and sets or how your chest still rises and falls as you breathe. Prioritising the good widens our perspective making us realise that there’s more to life than what is happening at the moment.

Seek support: Reach out to your support network being careful to select people who will not fuel your anxiety. Engage them in stimulating discussions that will take your mind off how you were feeling before.

Change the course: We often follow patterns when we are anxious. Habits triggered by our surroundings. Instead of letting an unwanted situation overwhelm you, detach yourself from it first. Step away to do things that calm you down such as listening to music, cooking or cooking while listening to music. This way, you take a break from what is bugging you and can come back with a fresh approach for tackling the situation.

Focus on facts: Fear is a natural response to a real or perceived threat to our safety or that of our loved ones meaning it’s possible we should truly be concerned but it’s also possible that it might just be in our head. Fear drives us to spend so much energy on thinking irrationally and imagining the worst. Ask yourself: What are the facts about this situation? What is likely to happen? Arm yourself with information so that when the time comes, you can challenge your thoughts and focus on what is real.

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