Mind: Facing Up To Fear

   In small doses negative emotions such as fear are not considered to be bad.
In fact 'Is Anger Always Negative?' (Mind article) describes the benefits of "fight or flight", the body's natural response to fear which prepares us to take the appropriate adrenalin- charged action to ensure our safety.

Emotions provide important clues as to the state of our inner lives. On a positive level, we all place a value on qualities such as peace, security, acceptance, purpose and meaning in our lives. As soon as we are exposed to negative emotions such as fear, we have effectively selected a means for solving the problems that we are exposed to.

"Fear of the unknown" is a common phrase that has been used to embody a range of emotions associated with the loss of control and exposure to circumstances that are beyond us. We can experience job uncertainty- whether facing redundancy or because we cannot get work; we may experience financial insecurity and therefore become uncertain about how to make ends meet paying our bills and buying general provisions that we need to live; we or our loved ones may have health concerns with the prospect of long term illness or death, requiring active medical intervention; we may have relationship difficulties that lead to separation, estrangement or divorce.

The reality is that we are not exempt from uncertainty in our lives- this in itself is not a problem. The problem arises from the way we choose to handle uncertainty: whether we accept our loss of control by becoming fearful and worried or whether we take control and minimise the detrimental effects that fear has on our lives. As soon as we choose to use fear to handle our problems we are choosing to react in a way that invites unhealthy effects upon our physical emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

When we lose control we may not be able to change our circumstances overnight- we won't suddenly get a job, inherit a cash windfall, be reconciled with our loved ones and miraculously recover from serious illness. The one thing we have control over that we can actively change is our "attitude" towards the circumstances that we face. You may have heard the saying, "If you can't change your circumstances you can change the way you think about it". Changing the way we think is the first step in combating fear- we can then exchange fear for certainty by focussing on the things that we can change in our lives and replace negative perceptions with those that are positive.

(Source: hopecalls.org)

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