I seldom sugarcoat my posts and I don’t plan on starting with this one; it is a fearful time in the world and we have every reason to be afraid. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, I’m simply acknowledging reality. Every day we’re bombarded with news and stories which make us question our safety and security. To a greater or lesser degree, this constant exposure to negative, sensationalist, and alarming information will impact our day to day lives, from the way in which we carry ourselves to how we interact with others. So let’s talk about fear, let’s openly face it.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but great part of our fear is enabled by technology and how accessible information is to us nowadays. While I strongly encourage my readers to stay informed and to get their news from different media sources, it is hard to avoid fear and anxiety when we’re constantly being flooded with reasons to feel these emotions.
But you know what? We do have a choice. We don’t have to live in fear. In fact, we can even make friends with it.
First and foremost, what is fear and where does it stem from? The more I read about this topic, the more fascinated I become about our physiological composition. Andrew Huberman, a Stanford neurobiology professor specialized in the study of fear explains how the human brain is “Mostly a stress-reactive machine. Its primary job is to keep us alive, which is why it's so easy to flip people into fear all the time.”
In simpler terms? Fear is an evolutionary adaptative mechanism which is designed to help keep us alive. When something in our environment triggers fear, our fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in by pumping adrenaline through our bodies and our immediate physiological response is to fight, flee, or freeze. We might also find ourselves experiencing other emotions like anger, aggressiveness, or contempt. While this fear-based response system is designed to ensure our survival, at times it can also backfire on us. How so? We can find ourselves experiencing fear and defending ourselves even when our survival isn’t being threatened.
Yes, anticipating something or someone could threaten or harm us is more than enough to make us fearful and reactive. Also, becoming fearful of and/or worrying about the future, and about things which aren’t in our control, can further trigger an emotionally reactive response from our part. I could talk about this for days because I’ve been there. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from these instances it's how important it is to read and educate yourself about your body and its chemical, emotional, and physiological reactions in order to cope with fear differently.
Make Friends with It
It is ok to have fear. In fact, experiencing fear is perfectly normal. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic (one of my favorite current reads) “the only truly fearless people I’ve ever met were straight-up sociopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year olds—and those aren’t good role models for anyone.”
It’s not about avoiding fear but rather how we can learn to develop a healthy relationship with it; how to befriend and embrace it! As tricky as it seems, this attitude opens space in our lives to lead a harmonious and non-reactionary existence. If at times you find fear controlling how you function, take a step back, take a deep breath, and bring your attention to the present moment. Accept your fear as a natural response and draw your reaction from a place of compassion. Allow yourself to feel your fear without becoming overwhelmed or judging yourself for experiencing it. Take a rational next step, not an emotional one.
We don’t have to be consumed by our fears or close ourselves off from things we are uncertain about because of it. Responding to fear from a place of compassion isn’t an easy task; it takes work, practice, and persistence. As long as you extend compassionate kindness to the things which you fear the most and learn to accept them as they are, you'll be extending compassion to yourself, to your present circumstances, and you'll be on track towards embracing the future as it comes - however this may be.
I hope you're all enjoying your summer and that you take these words with you wherever you may go. Regarding my look for today's post, I'm rocking Koolaburra's Aviana wedges, designed with full arch support for round-the-clock comfort and a breezy bare-shoulder top from Necessary Clothing (similar print here). Let's continue to keep things light and cool for the remainder of these warm summer days. Be sure to scroll down for additional outfit details and reach out if you'd like to chat more about this. Your comments and emails always brighten up my days!