I was asked to write a post about overcoming fear and anxiety. I think the key thing to remember here is that you can’t and shouldn’t overcome these feelings in the sense of “making them go away”, they are a natural part of life.
The trick is learning how to manage these emotions, they are there for a reason and can be an ally to you. Think of it this way, if you didn’t feel hunger, you would likely starve to death. Fear and Anxiety can be a great source of motivation and navigation, if you don’t let them cripple you. One of the most crippling things you can do to yourself is attempt to ignore, run from, and feel bad about having these emotions.
Part of our problem today is that we exist in a society that is severely disconnected from feeling. We’re told that if we experience anything in the so called “negative” spectrum of feelings we’re somehow defective. This is self defeating because it gives us unrealistic expectations. No one is happy all the time, and if they say they are, they are probably lying to you. We’re afraid to feel, we numb out our emotions with pills, drugs, alcohol, video games,TV, whatever, all because we’re afraid to face what’s inside. The problem with this outlook is that it disregards the fact that these emotions are there for a reason, they are trying to tell us something, the more we run from our emotions, our fears, the more likely they are to bite us.
Something that might be handy for you to keep in mind is the acronym HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) When we’re dealing with any of these things they can exacerbate other problems. It’s like the snickers commercial, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” So, when you’re feeling “off”, stop and check yourself, are you Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Make sure you take care of yourself and do what you need to do to meet your basic needs; this will often help take the rough edges off of those gnarly emotions. Eat something, take a nap and when you wake up the world might look a whole lot different.
Just remember that feelings are just that, feelings. We should allow ourselves to experience them, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get swept away by them. With all things in life it’s a matter of balance and moderation. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, take the lesson they are offering and them let them pass. While you don’t want to ignore them, you also don’t want to make them bigger than they are.
Some life situations can be very overwhelming, you can find yourself facing challenges and circumstances of all kinds, sometimes a while lot of them at once. Don’t let your fear go into overdrive and make them worse. Our emotions are a tool, if used properly they can do us a great service, if used improperly they can do some damage. Think of it this way, you can use a hammer to build something, or you can hit yourself in the head with it. Which one would you rather choose?
One of the best tricks I’ve learned when it comes to managing fear and anxiety is to live in the moment and focus on what you can do right now.
We often find ourselves so caught up in things we have no control over; like the past and the future, that we forget about the here and now. We worry, we ruminate, we speculate until we’re mentally exhausted with nothing accomplished. When I find myself feeling anxious about life, I like to write a list of a few things I could be doing right now; if I wasn’t letting my mind run like a frantic hamster in the wheel of doom.
It’s probably best to keep your list fairly simple to start with, stick with little objectives you can meet away; light cleaning, exercising, meditating, cooking some food or just doing something you enjoy. Writing the list will help get you back into the present; crossing off the stuff on that list will make you feel better because you’ll be getting things done, which means there will be less stuff floating around upstairs to stress you out- and it’s empowering.
Another thing to remember is that we’re often creating a story which isn’t really based in reality. We are often our own worst critics and enemies, many times the things we are worrying about are nothing more than phantoms, ethereal things that might stress us out, but lack real substance. We have the choice whether or not to allow things to bother us. We are the authors of our own lives, and most of the time we have the power to write the kind of story we wish for ourselves. It’s all about acting, instead of reacting. When we react, we aren’t thinking logically, and our actions are often self defeating.
Trying to find the positives in even the most negative situations is also very empowering. For example, my Aunt Patti who is very dear to me is currently dying of lung cancer. It’s heartbreaking, scary to think that some day soon she won’t be a part of my life. However, at the same time, I’m thankful for the fact that we can see it coming, we have the chance to say our goodbyes and spend time together before she passes.
When my Aunt Cathy died on my birthday 4 years ago I was devastated. I felt like the universe had it out for me, we didn’t see it coming, and we never got the closure we would have liked. While it was horrible and awful, I find that it’s helped me in this present situation. I have the perspective and the experience to see the silver lining, that small bit of hope and light I can focus on amidst the darkness. I’ve moved in with Patti and I’m helping her out with her hospice care and we’re getting to know each other better and enjoy each other’s company. I’m also finding that helping her is giving me a sense of peace, a feeling that I’m doing something good. Helping other people will help you too.
Working with your emotions and your body instead of against them will go a long way toward a happy life. Taking the reigns on your life and realizing we can make the choice to be happy also helps. Finally, not buying into the idea that we all have to be happy all the time also helps us shed the guilt we feel when we’re having a bad day. What’s the point of feeling bad about feeling bad?
Thank you for reading and I hope this article helps you out, I’d love to hear some ways you cope with stress, fear, worry, and anxiety. Let’s all help each other. :) Before I go, I want to share a poem which I found really inspiring, and I hope it gives you the same sense of peace it gave me:
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth
quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself
with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser
persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however
humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not
blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is
full of heroism.
Be yourself. Espessially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face
of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the councel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture
strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark
imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no
less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your
Labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its
shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann ( 1872 ~ 1945 )
It’s been a while since I last wrote on here and I have a few things to share with you today. :)
First of all, if you are a regular visitor to this site, you may have noticed a few articles are missing from their regular places. A while back I went through my old stuff, and noticed that there are a few areas where my opinions have changed. I don’t like the idea of outright deleting the articles so I have archived them instead. I like to be able to see the evolution of my thoughts and it seems like a more honest approach.. I have created an archives section for anyone who cares to browse through them. It’s located in a sub-menu under the home link. :)
If you don’t have that kind of time, I’ll give you a little cliff-notes version of my thoughts on some of that stuff.
Tattoo Industry- At the time I wrote those particular posts I was still feeling pretty burned out. In 2013 I had closed my tattoo studio and immediately started working at another busy shop in downtown Madison. Life got pretty crazy and I had to step back from tattooing for a while but I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder because I’ve decided to pick up my machines once again and I’m pretty excited about that! The thing I love and miss about tattoos is that they can inspire people to grow and be the best version of themselves. I love tattoos that make people feel beautiful, courageous and strong. I want to use tattoo as an outlet to evoke those powerful positive feelings that exist inside of us and bring them to the surface.
Teal Swan (Scott)- I stopped posting articles on Teal because I don’t have the time to invest that kind of energy into judging someone. My posts on Teal were my way of getting some stuff off my chest. That said, I’ve had time to think about all of that and I feel that it doesn’t really matter much what I think. People are going to do and believe what they want to. My faith in humanity has grown quite a bit since I wrote those posts and I believe that ultimately people know what’s best for them. I am seeing some inspiring and wonderful things right now and I want to focus on positives. :)
I’m going to bring back the tattoo gallery, I just got a new computer and I’m in the process of sorting through pictures. I will also be adding some services to this website soon as well, including Reiki, artistic commissions and whatever else strikes me as fun. If you have something you would like to see, let me know.
Permaculture Projects. I have plans in the works for the next stage of my garden and it’s going to be pretty darn groovy, incorporating a bunch of cool Permie stuff. I’ll be sure to share the experience. :D I would like to get more posts going on this website too. I’m curious what you would like to see? I write about a variety of stuff, from permaculture to psychic abilities. I guess in my mind all that stuff is related anyway. It’s all the same in this cosmic game. ;)
That’s about it for this post, I’ll be writing a bunch more in the next few days so check back soon. :)
My latest Article on Spirit Science is an introduction to permaculture and why it has the potential to save our planet.
Since I started taking this certificate course on Permaculture, I’ve found myself pretty amazed at the things I have learned. Click on the link below to learn some of the basics of what permaculture is all about. :)
In my latest article for Spirit Science, I cover the topic of Wild Edibles and share with you the reasons (they are numerous) why “weeds” are wonderful. :)