On Anxiety, Fear, & Worry

“Combating Your Anxiety, Fears & Worry

Another Patton Associates S-M-A-R-TBriefing

by: Gary F. Patton (gfp ’42™) [1]

Even at the ridiculously low estimate of jihadists being only 1% of the 1.3B Muslims on the planet, that's still 13M terrorists striving to make Islam supreme.
Even at the ridiculously low estimate of jihadists being only 1% of the 1.3B Muslims on the planet, that’s still 13M terrorists striving to make Islam supreme on the planet.

Have you noticed that in these unsettled times anxiety, fear and worry[2] are taking a greater and greater toll on your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellness?

What People Fear

Below is a short summary of only some of the things people fear. (Please note that I use F-E-A-R as an acronym. I’ll explain shortly how it effectively represents anxiety, fear and worry.)

  • being alone …especially in old age,
  • not having enough money,
  • losing a loved one,
  • failure,
  • never going full-out at something,
  • personal safety,
  • sickness
  • medical expenses,
  • not achieving my dream,
  • the unknown,
  • rejection,
  • job insecurity,
  • aging,
  • success,
  • losing my faith in God,
  • not being at choice,
  • being found out,
  • losing my children,
  • letting another down,
  • not being able to cope,
  • looking stupid,
  • being humiliated,
  • losing control,
  • being unlovable,
  • being abandoned,
  • never finding my life purpose,
  • thoughts of life as meaningless,
  • impotence,
  • dying alone and unloved and …
  • death!

Here is your opening S-M-A-R-TTip™

“Fear is situation specific, plus a product of immediate experience coupled with personal history.” ~ gfp ’42™

People talk about my fear, your fear, our fear …rather than fear itself.

Beware

God designed real fear to be our friend. Regrettably for many of us, anxiety, fear and worry are usually our worst enemy. It is often irrational and self-sustaining.

The "Vicious Voices" in our heads are planted by diabolical beings to trip us up and defeat us.
The “Vicious Voices” in our heads are planted by diabolical beings to trip us up and defeat us.

This truth is succinctly summarized in the acronym F-E-A-R: “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Seldom, except in threatening situations is the emotion of fear an accurate appraisal of what is actually happening. Unless it’s  summarily dealt with, F-E-A-R will default to the worst possible scenario.

Fear is usually your emotional mind’s answer to the question: “How bad can this issue really get?”

This is because our F-E-A-Rs are usually delivered by a voice in your head that speaks assertively and convincingly in the first person and sounds like our thoughts. But these are NOT our thoughts …at all! [3]

“Fear is conniving and malicious. It demands to be believed!” ~ gfp ’42™

The rationale for believing these negative voices is supported by much of the world’s message that is delivered to us in so many media and ways. And they powerfully grip and hold us prisoner like the chain around the back foot of a circus elephant keeps every huge bull a prisoner to his trainer’s whims.

The Only Way Out

I am reminded of a principle: the way one responds to the world shows how much faith s(he) has in God. An ancient Hebrew proverb offers sage advice when it comes to fear and F-E-A-R; It says:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In everything you do, stay in intimate relationship with him and he’ll lead the lead for you!” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6, Patton Paraphrase

In my loose paraphrase, the proverb encourages us to:

“Conquer fear and F-E-A-R with F-E-A-R in God (“Face Everything And Recover, in God”).”  ~ gfp ’42™

The second stanza of the famous Christian hymn, “Amazing Grace” by John Newton (1725-1807), makes the point of my S-M-A-R-TTip™ …clearly:

“T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.

“And Grace, my fears relieved.

“How precious did that Grace appear

“The hour I first believed.”

The emotion of fear performs as the gift God intended when it truly describes reality. It is an attention-getter, a warning to flee, fight or flow …not freeze. Therefore…

“Real fear is potentially life-saving. But, the way we often experience it, F-E-A-R is a foe to be challenged, immediately.” ~ gfp ’42™

A short piece called “Beyond The Edges” makes this point in a compelling way. It’s from an old book, the “Little Devotional Bible” (Honor books, PO Box 55388 Tulsa Oklahoma  74155):

“Centuries ago, when a map-maker would run out of the known world before he ran out of parchment, he would often sketch a dragon at the edge of the scroll.  This was intended to be a sign to the explorer that he was entering unknown territory at his own risk.

“Many explorers, however, did not perceive the dragon as a map maker warning sign, but as a prophecy. They foresaw disaster and doom beyond the known worlds they traversed. Their F-E-A-R kept them from pushing on to discover new lands and peoples. Other, more adventurous travelers, [like Cristoforo Colombo (1451-1506), the discoverer of the Americas,] saw the dragon as a sign of opportunity, the doorway to a new territory worth exploring.”

Each of us has a mental map or belief system containing the information we use for guidance as we explore each new day. Some call it a ‘worldview’. Others, a ‘paradigm’.

Like the maps of long ago, our mental maps have edges. Sometimes those edges are marked by the dragons that I call F-E-A-Rs.   Sometimes, our real fears are valid.  Other times, our F-E-A-Rs can keep us from discovering more of the world around us, or more about other people, including ourselves.

Please do not let F-E-A-R keep you from all that God desires for you to explore and to know!

Here is one of God’s many promises to those who trust in His guidance and will:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

F-E-A-R & Stress

F-E-A-R creates a great deal of dis-stress. Here are some stress mastery strategies that work for me:

  • Prayer – There are many different definitions of and approaches to prayer.

Regardless of how you define or practice it, the overriding principle underlying the notion of prayer is both simple and clear: surrender. Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up so much as yielding to a power greater than one’s own. Jesus said it in a few words: “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.  And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”” (John 8:28-29) He also told his Heavenly Father: “Not my will but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:43)

  • Meditation – There also are  a great many approaches to this discipline.

But as the Christian Bible promises, the peace of God does pass all understanding. It will guard your heart and your mind. But, not by emptying it.[4] (Philippians 4:7) It brings a state of calm in which the tormenting tentacles of intellect and emotion are forced to release their awful, and powerful grip.

Prayer and/or meditation can be solitary acts, or a first step you take in a series of coping strategies such as those outlined below. But, the common practices of asking God for what you need, or practicing techniques to become calm, need to be extended. Both are important first steps in wrestling unnatural fear to the ground. But, beyond them is listening …for answers, for guidance. Those answers and that guidance generally come quietly and subtly in “a still, small voice”.

  • Face Your Fear – The conscious mind resists this effort. It conducts a kind of push-pull routine in which you worry about the situation, but avoid really looking at it in a determined way. It’s kind of like trying to see something off to the side without moving your head. Facing your F-E-A-R(s) means meeting it/them head-on and full-out.

By doing so, you can discover that the worst possible scenario is not the most likely and that there really are options. Or, sometimes you’ll find out that the solutions lie elsewhere than in analysis, logic, or fretting. I’ve used successfully for over 20 years what I call my “Worry Buster”. I sit and write in my own hand and, then, read back to myself[5]:

  1. What I’m really worrying about.
  2. It’s worse possible outcome.
  3. My resolve that I can and will deal with that if it really becomes necessary, and
  4. My commitment as to what constructive, positive action I’ll take, right away.

Huge bull elephants are imprisoned by a light chain around their ankles as full grown adults. The are tricked as babies into believing that they are held fast. You too can set yourself free from the lies that hold you fast by simply choosing to do so. As Bruno Mars sings: “Never Say You Can’t”!

  • Take Action – By this, I don’t mean taking a specific action designed to reduce or remove your F-E-A-R. I’m talking about doing something that will keep you focused on an unrelated activity.

Do anything that will deflect, distract and refocus you away from what is causing your F-E-A-R. (It’s the technique many parents use on a disturbed child.) And it works because…

“Adults are often just like little kids in grown up bodies!” ~ gfp ’42™

Some may garden. Others may talk to a loved one or a friend. Or sing in the shower at the top of their lungs. I go for a four mile walk and do it in no more than an hour. Norman Cousins overcame his fear and also caused his cancer to disappear by watching old comedy movies and laughing. It doesn’t matter much what you do, just do it with all your heart. The important thing here is “present focus”.

“The past is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. This moment is the gift of God. That’s why He calls it “the present”!”  ~ gfp ’42™

  • Daily Maintenance – Disciplines, routines, practices, whatever you want to call them, daily maintenance is a catch-all for a series of positive steps you can take to cope with the many F-E-A-Rs that demand to be recognized. Daily maintenance can include all of the above …and more that work for you.

The key is that you make a conscious decision to do certain things, repetitively, that you have found to be effective in keeping at bay, and combating, your F-E-A-Rs.

The Bottom Line

Inevitably, we will be confronted with things that are both fearful and completely beyond our control. It doesn’t matter how smart we are or how careful we are. F-E-A-R will come!  And, when it does, you have two tasks.

  1. Immediately agree to disagree with F-E-A-R as a statement of fact and instead see it as the lie it is …powerful, emotionally-charged, and always inaccurate. (Please remember the imprisoned bull elephant.)
  2. Most importantly, yield your own personal view and attempts to salvage the situation causing the F-E-A-R.

There’s a shorthand for what ‘yielding’ is all about. It’s ‘faith’. I’m not talking about blind, leap-into-the dark faith. But faith that represents a giving up of your own will, your own ideas as to how the situation is supposed to work out.

Faith, for me, is the willingness to admit that I don’t have the answers and that, with enough humility and trust in God, He will give them to me.

Mastery of dis-stress and F-E-A-R is an on-going process. It’s not something you do once and for all and, then, forget it. For life has a habit of bringing bigger and more difficult challenges. But “F-E-A-R Mastery” is the kind of thing that, the longer you postpone it, the tougher it is to do. And If I can help you in any way, please let me know.[6]

Please join me. Choose to risk! Increase your failure rate and grow! Trust God! And live life to the full …forever! As Bruno Mars also sings: “Today My Life Begins”!

If your time for help is not ripe for you right now, please still drop me a line using the link immediately below this paragraph. I’d appreciate hearing what you think and how you feel about what I shared above.

In Conclusion

Please let me have your questions and comments below re what you’d add to, or disagree with, about the above. Also, let me know how else I might be useful to you in any way?

Alternatively, contact me directly by clicking here re personal questions or here to be added to my S-M-A-R-TBriefing™ Mailing List. mailto:S-M-A-R-TBriefingSubscrition@PattonAssociates.ca

Blessings in Jesus all …’till next we interact!
GaryFPatton

© Copyright 2015 08 29  gfp ‘ 42™ under a “Creative Commons 4.0 License” for your not-for-profit use as you wish and without change to the following:

PattonAssociates.ca, People Development Coaches & Consultants, Toronto, ON, CAN
“Specialists in business and life coaching to measurably improve the success of professionals!”
View my Visual Resume  Discover other places where we can connect. 

“Change is constant and inevitable. Improvement and growth are optional!” ~ © gfp ’42™
Schedule a COMPLIMENTARY 45 min. “Coaching Call” with me by clicking here. 

PattonAssociates.ca Logo
“Specialists in business and life coaching to measurably improve the success of professionals!”

Tags: addiction, anger, anxiety, appreciation, attraction principles, avoiding, behaviour, bliss, business development, career, challenges, choices, Christian, clarity, decision-making, disgust, distress control, emotions, emotional response, fear, focus, freedom, goal-setting, God, Jesus, liabilities, love, negative-thinking, negative-voices, negativity, passion, perspective, personal growth, problems, problem solving, positivity, positive-thinking, procrastination, relationship, relaxation, relaxation response, salvation, self-help, self-help advice, spirituality, strengths, stress, stress management, struggling, thankfulness, thinking, weaknesses, wellness, overcoming worry,


[1] By allowing your cursor to rest for a moment on any of my hyper-linksa Pop -up Window will share additional information about the Web Site you can choose to visit by left-clicking it. You will discover this is helpful. For example, when you hover your cursor over gfp ’42™, inserted after each of my S-M-A-R-TTips™, you will find revealed the location for more of my FREE Tips™”

[2] While sometimes used as synonyms in English, anxiety, fear, panic-attack, terror, worry, and similar words do not mean the same. Also, they are used differently by different people at different times. If you’d like to better understand the differences professionals discern for these states we all feel, you’ll discover helpful, short articles by an About.com author here and another by a psychologist here .

[3] Ask me for a copy of a short, helpful article that describes who’s voice the Bible says these negative thoughts in your head truly belong to. You’ll be surprised. And you’ll learn how to overcome their power!

[4] Psychological research has proven that some approaches to meditation practised by Buddhists and others can have benefits. The approach of emptying one’s mind also has dangers because in this state science has also proven that one has an increased susceptibility to suggestion as occurs with hypnosis.

[5] In her 2010 Book,”Choke : what the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to”, Sian Beilock discusses considerable brain and psychological research that proves the effectiveness of writing about and reading out loud things that are causing you distress.

[6] F-E-A-R and stress management are life-skills coaching specialties for me because of what I learned when dis-stress caused me to become very ill and, then, F-E-A-Rful and depressed. As a result, I became totally disabled was  unable to work for over 5 years starting in 1995.

Advertisements

Published by

GaryFPatton

Hi! You've connected to 'The People Development Guy' in Toronto. I am a people's coach and human resource management consultant & workshop leader. To assist you with a quick overview, I specialize in business & life coaching plus training in organizations that measurably improves the performance of people! I help people flourish and organizations prosper by relating and serving better cross-culturally & cross-generationally! It's my heart, as a Follower of Jesus, to be a conversation partner with you and a servant to you in any relationship we develop. Please see my 'page' "On Truth" for a quick outline of the purpose of my Blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s