Years ago, every time I had to drive I’d get sick. Eventually, I just started riding the bus, walking or begging someone else to drive me wherever I needed to go. This was before it was a law in TN that all drivers had to be insured, and at a time when purchasing insurance would have meant not eating for our family.
Our cars were tricky to drive. Things like brakes that had to be pumped a precise number of times before you wanted to actually stop, toggle switches, gears that shifted from 4th to 1st instead of the normal standard H pattern and doors that only opened from the outside defined our driving experiences.
Combine the lack of insurance and operating a barely functional vehicle with a little road construction or rush hour traffic and what you got was a hivey, anxiety-ridden dava, who thought she was going to throw up pretty much all the time.
Fear. Everyone feels it is some situations, and sometimes – like driving during my poor college years – it is justifiable and even desirable. Fear can act as a sort of built-in risk mitigator, but if you are running a business and you let fear paralyze you, your income will suffer. The further your income falls, the scarier it is and an ugly downward spiral can ensue.
Being a generally worried kind of person who also happens to have a ridiculously vivid imagination, I’m learning to recognize and deal with fear. Usually, I hesitate to talk about being afraid because it can be a little humiliating to publicly announce you are a wienie, but I was inspired by the courage Marian Schembari and her blog post about being proactive. It’s so important to talk about fears, otherwise, they can become much worse and can start to take over your life. By talking about it, more people can learn that their fears aren’t as extreme as they might think. They can learn to be calmer and less fearful. When dealing with the anxiety that’s associated with fears, it’s vital to find a coping strategy. For example, some people find that marijuana can help them to desensitize themselves from this anxiety and fear, helping them to overcome their fears. Many people smoke marijuana in a number of different ways, but one of the most popular methods is by using something similar to these fat buddha glass dab rigs, for example. That should help more people feel less anxious, allowing them to speak openly about their fears to ensure they can overcome them.
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
1. The first thing is to realize that you are afraid of something. It’s easier to think you are staring listlessly at another hand of solitaire because you are a slacker than it is to admit that you are too afraid to do anything else.
2. It helps to do something unrelated to whatever is scaring you but that is still a personal challenge. Progress towards a goal stiffens the spine. I’ve given myself 30 day challenges, trained for a 5K, and taken on volunteer gigs as a way to gently push myself toward being just a little more courageous.
3. Talk to somebody who is likely to understand why you are afraid. Just reading Marian’s post and the comments on it made me feel better. It’s easier to talk about what’s bothering you than it is to put on a show for your peers and colleagues. Choose someone trustworthy who will listen.
4. Face it head on and deal. This one is hard, but if you set a certain time each day to just suck it up and deal with whatever it is for an hour – or even 10 minutes – you will find it far easier as time goes on. It helps some people to actually put it on the calendar.
5. Write out the absolute worst case scenario, imagining exactly how every little detail would feel. Usually, it’s not as bad as we think. The specter is often much worse than the actuality – not always, but most of the time.
That’s all I’ve come up with at this point. How do you handle it when you are afraid?