I have seen the dark side in life. And I have seen the dark give way to the light.
I have worked with survivors of abuse, slavery and violent crime. I’ve worked with military vets that lived through extreme combat in serving our nation. I’ve seen the impact of trauma on the mind, body and soul up close. I’ve experienced it myself. And it has taught me something about fear. Fear is like fire. It has varying intensities. Fear has degrees. What is required to snuff out a match is incredibly distinct from what is required to battle a forest fire. With fear, as with fire, there are times we need help, reinforcements and power-tools to get the job done.
We opened a conversation about fear a few weeks ago, recognizing it
at work and transforming
our relationship to it. But if you are still overwhelmed and overcome with fear in some area of your life, it’s possible you may need some extra support in retraining your nervous system—that part of you that responds to threat. Maybe you have experienced trauma or maybe you have simply fed your fear so much over the years that now it seems unstoppable. Good news! With a couple of highly effective tools, practiced regularly, you really can create a new experience with fear no matter how intense it is for you right now. Obviously there are more than just two tools in life that you can use, but today’s post focuses on a couple of my favorites.
The first tool is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
. I have practiced this technique since 2009, both personally and with clients. I have seen it bring healing in clients with such terrifying experiences that you would be traumatized just from reading the details here. Clients who have struggled with anxiety and panic have found peace of mind. It can be used for fears and events from the recent past all the way back to the earliest days of childhood.
EFT involves physically tapping on acupressure points while tuning in to the fear sensations. Research shows that EFT shuts off the threat response and turns on the relaxation response in the brain, almost immediately. This process sends a signal to the body that it’s okay to release—aka let go of—the fear. It is an incredible tool for clearing out beliefs and patterns that fuel any remaining fear in your life.
How many times have you driven a familiar route in your car, only to arrive and have no conscious memory of what you passed on the way? You were probably focused on your mental to-do list, or reviewing the argument you had with your spouse the night before. We’ve all done it, driven on auto-pilot, or mindlessly. And we spend much of our day, everyday, the same way. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is the practice of tuning in to your present moment experience with acceptance, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating over the past.
Mindfulness is a tool that allows you to “be with” fear without being freaked out by it. It uses your senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing to focus your mind on what is happening right now, while suspending any judgment or criticism of the experience. Mindfulness increases your conscious awareness and loving acceptance of the present moment. The more you stay in your conscious brain, the less you are in your reactive brain, and so more relaxed. Even in the midst of fear. It really is a powerful practice.
So if fear is still getting the best of you, and the possibility of harnessing it to your advantage looks completely out of reach, I invite you to consider the help of Emotional Freedom Technique and Mindfulness. These are tools for a lifetime that will support you in creating a life from love. And perfect love casts out all fear.