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The F Word..... Fear

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

A few years ago my husband and I went ziplining. It looked like so much fun, flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

We got harnessed up, clipped onto safety lines, I was happy and all good to go… until I got to the first platform and had to step off. In that short space of time I had managed to convince myself that my harness was going to break mid-flight and I was going plunge to my death.

I did step off the platform but didn’t enjoy it. Progressively we got higher up in the trees. My hands were sore from gipping onto anything I could. I was hating every second of it (see photo below).

I made it to the third to last platform. Funnily enough, I hadn’t plunged to my death and this whole ziplining thing was turning out to be kinda fun. By the time I had completed the course I was ready to do it again, this time with my eyes open and a lot more “unclenched”!

What had happened to me? Our minds like routine and the “known” and when we put ourselves in a new or unknown situation, our mind will try and protect us, and keep us safe. The thing with fear is it can’t distinguish between a real-life threat or something that is imagined or perceived. I had done such a spectacular job in telling myself I was going to plunge to my death that my mind and body went into “fight or flight mode”. All rational thinking had gone out the window even though I was perfectly safe. The more platforms I stepped off, the more my mind realised I was safe, the more I began to enjoy the experience.

Over the last month I have had to face a few new experiences and situations. Before each one, I could feel the fear bubbling to the surface. This was no ziplining but I was reacting as if it was. I needed to sort this out because now being self-employed I had to get use to being in new situations.

So, what do I do now to calm the nerves and fear? I do a quick meditation which calms my thoughts, and its also helps me focus on my breathing. As part of the body preparing us to either stay and fight or run our breathing gets shallow and quick, and our muscles get tense. I am a huge fan of box breathing (breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, out for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4 and repeat). I also remind myself that I am safe and that if I can survive ziplining (which is now my fear benchmark), I will survive meeting new people… and you know what, if things don’t go quite to plan, what’s the worst that could happen?

I know I will never be fearless when it comes to new situations, but with a few tricks up my sleeve, I am going to make sure that fear is not going to hold me back from experiencing new and amazing things.

“Being brave isn’t the absence of fear.

Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.”

Bear Grylls

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