3 Antidotes for the Fear Virus

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At this writing, the 84-degree Spring tease of two days ago in Dallas is a fading memory.  A major winter storm named Titan (When did the National Weather Service start naming winter storms?) slammed a good portion of the U.S. again.  Sigh.

That’s the way it goes sometimes.  Just when you think you’re through with something–can we be rid of winter quick enough?–the Universe, or Mother Nature, drops another heavy load, seemingly with glee.

Come on! You think.  It’s all too much and when are you going to catch a break?  Enough already!

The storms in our hearts

Heavy storms in our hearts are just as real as the foot-high snow drifts outside many windows today.  Just like the weariness we feel about the interminable Artic weather (Say it with me: The “polar vortex” sucks.), so too do we grow weary of the storms raging throughout our spirits.

The question was posed to me recently:  How do I get rid of fear-based thoughts, especially the fear of the unknown?

Well, jeez, I don’t know.  How can I make grass grow in the middle of the Sahara Desert?

If I only knew the answer to the fear question, I could crown myself a spiritual guru or Tony Robbins on the speaking circuit.

When the question came, I fired off a few suggestions that were, admittedly, a tad smart-aleck-y.  You see, the question made me nervous and I become a bit flippant when I’m nervous.

Why was I nervous?  Because I’ve asked the question too, many times, in fact.

So what about the fear question?

The question is haunting, isn’t it?  I haven’t been able to let it go. But now I have an addendum to my answer.

As with most spiritual matters, there is no black and white, so “getting rid of” doesn’t fit the question because it suggests a conclusive action.  You and I are human, so unless your name rhymes with Dalai or Eckhart, fear-based thoughts appear in your life at random and annoying times.

However, I believe there are at least three antidotes for the fear virus (Can its insidiousness be anything but a spreading virus?).

First, rather than focus on getting rid of fear-based thoughts, especially fear of the unknown, what if you quietly and simply accept them?  Acceptance means you can invite the fear thought to stay for dinner, without asking it to spend the night.

D. H. Lawrence said, “The living moment is everything.”  Acceptance can only happen in the living moment.

Second, feel the fearful thought(s) without judgment.  If we can agree that 99.99% of humans feel fear from time to time, then what the heck is the point of beating yourself up for having a fear thought?  Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Finally, and this antidote is kind of radical so stick with me here.  When you’re in the middle of fear, take several deep belly breaths.  That’s right, pull the fear inside as you inhale.  Allow the fear thought to wash over you as you hold your breath for a few seconds.

Then, slowly let your breath out–not the fear, but the idea that you have any control over whatever is causing the fear.  Do this several times.  That exhale, my friends, is faith, and is WAY more powerful than any fear thought you can have.

All spiritual processes take time and practice.  Don’t allow the fear virus to spread.  Patience, Grasshopper, work with the antidotes!

Photo courtesy of Karpati Gabor

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Beth,

    Love this line – “That exhale, my friends, is faith, and is WAY more powerful than any fear thought you can have.” We do have control over our fears, although it doesn’t always seem like it. It’s so interesting to think back to things that caused me a lot of fear at one time and now I don’t give them a second thought. So true that we just have to accept our fears for what they are and do our best to focus on today. Great post!

    • Beth says:

      Thank you, Cathy. You know that I write what I need to learn, right? So if I’m full of fear, I figure the best way to face it is to write about it. Making it public helps me be transparent and accountable.

      As always, thanks for your support!

  2. LaDonna says:

    Beth, thank you for the description and ideas for managing the fear that can sneak into our lives and attempt to steal our joy. I’m learning to recognize fear so I can call it what it is, just naming it helps.

    I’ll add an affirmation that came up this past week that said, “”May I become free of my fear of [insert named fear].” I like it because once I recognize the fear I can begin to let go with an affirmation.

    I participated in the 6th Annual Tapping Summit this past week and one of the things, among many, I came away with is the idea that fear is a teacher. So one more question I might add to your inhale/exhale experience is to simply ask, “what is it I must learn from this fear?” As you know the teacher appears when the student is ready (or something like that) so maybe fear comes (whether we know we’re ready or not) and it would do us a world of good to focus our attention on what we can learn from it?

    Thank you as always, insightful, inspiring and full of meaning.

  3. Beth says:

    I agree, LaDonna, that fear arrives and we choose to deal with it or deny it. Sometimes, of course, a face-to-face fear is truly dangerous, even life-threatening. I want to be clear that I’m not talking about those kind of fears.

    When emotional fears appear, the best approach (and the one that guarantees we’ll kick karma’s butt!) is to face it head-on, just stare that puppy down. Big talk, I know, but when we frame it–as you suggest, and I agree–as an opportunity to learn, we’re winners. The antidote goes down easily.

    I can’t wait to hear more about this tapping summit!

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