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A Counterintuitive Way to Release Fear



It's hard to escape the fear that's in the air. Open the news - it can pummel you. If you know any friends affected by the virus, it becomes even more personal. It is normal for fear to take the front seat now - we have entered the unknown.


The first instinct might be the keep calm and carry on, which for many people is code for burying the emotion, only to have it show up later even more intensely. But what if there were a better way - a way of holding the fear to actually release it?  What if there was a way to use the fear to develop greater resilience?


The good news, according to psychologist Arielle Schwartz, is that "Resilience is defined as the ability to flexibly adapt to challenging, adverse, or traumatic life events. Resilience is not a trait that you either have or do not have; rather, it is a set of strategies that can be learned and practiced." 


Imagine a baby who is sobbing. Similar to a baby, your fears are crying out to you to notice them, listen to them, and give them your attention. You would not lock a baby in a dark base­ment; it’s the same with your fears. You want to make it safe for them to emerge. Just like a baby, they may need to be held, com­forted, and allowed to relax in your caring presence.


I've chosen an excerpt from my latest book, Emotional Advantage: Embracing ALL Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love to give you a very special tool to not only handle fear but to release it.


Christian Mickelson has developed a process that is a gentle but powerful way to deal with fears. Called “The Peace Process,” it bypasses the mind by addressing the feelings em­bedded in the body. The body, which stores all types of memo­ries, including traumatic ones, is used as a pathway to release fear. There are seven steps.


Choose a fear you have, probably not your most intense one as you are learning the process. You can do this again with the bigger fears once you know how it works. Think about the fear, let it come to the forefront of your mind. Remember that you are in a safe place and that the fear can’t hurt you, then focus on feeling it in your body. These steps will help you through the process:


  1. Find the feeling: Because feelings can be felt in the body, think of your fear and notice where it shows up in your body (most people identify the heart area, the throat, or the gut, though it could be anywhere).

  2. Stay present: Keep your attention on that part or parts of your body. Do not try to solve the issue in your mind or numb it out with food, phones, or other go­to addic­tions. You can do this!

  1. Accept that feeling: Instead of suppressing it, let the feeling come up for air. Like you would a hurt child, try to send it some care, some love.

  2. Focus on where the feeling is most intense: In that feel­ing lodged somewhere in your body, there’s one spot that has the most charge, the most intensity. Put and keep your tender attention right there.

  3. Let it breathe: When you focus your care on that area in your body, the feeling may move or get more or less in­ tense. Invite it to get bigger and witness how it changes.  We never know how deep the fear is. So it re­ quires you staying with it and providing the presence to help it to run its course. It could be seconds or minutes or, rarely, a few hours.

  4. Connect with peace: Let the feeling grow and move around, keeping your loving attention on the part that seems to be most intensified. Eventually, you’ll notice that the fear will dissipate, and the feeling of peace will be stronger than the feeling of fear. This usually occurs in five to ten minutes. Sometimes it can be more, some­ times it will go faster—stay with it.

  5. Tap into lasting peace: After the fear has subsided, you will feel a neutral feeling, you safe and then releasing them for something better, you are creating space to embrace a more aware and updated version of yourself. For example, replace “I am freaked out” with “There's a strong part of me I can always count on.” 


See if you are feeling anything but peace, and if so, repeat the process again. Depend­ing on how deep­seated the feelings are, this may be a gradual process with several layers to get through. But every time you do it, it moves you to greater freedom. Soon, you will notice that you feel less entrapped by the fear that was keeping you stuck. You are giving yourself breathing room and the green light to go forward and bring out the best within you.



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