Face Fear, Find Joy

During the first World War, a young French officer had been disciplined by his colonel for showing fear in battle. When the commander heard of the incident, he choose to reprimand the colonel rather than the officer saying, “None but a coward dares to boast that he had never know fear.”

We all feel fear. In times like these fear holds me captive in my thoughts. It blocks me from feeling joy. I have bowed to fear, dropped to my proverbial knees and done everything I could to avoid feeling fear, but I found in the long run it was better to face my fear, go through it, slice it and dice it until I no longer fear it. My fear level has dropped significantly.

Here are a dozen ideas I found that helped me to grow passed my fears and to find more joy in my life.

Write Thoughts Down

Writing down my fears has always helped me with sorting out them out and creating possible courses of action. It was a way to express my pent up feelings and brainstorm courses of action. Many times writing helped calm my mind.

Act Selfless

There were times in my life when fear kept me in my bubble when I actually needed to grow. It was thinking of others, like my family or teammates or squad that pushed me passed my fears, calmed my mind, and motivated me to action. Who needed me right then motivated me to be more than a ball of fear.

Study the Source

“Fear always springs from ignorance.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of my fears come from a lack of information — true information. That means researching assertions to ascertain its falsehood or truth. Once I read, study and learn from reliable sources my insecurity calms down, many times it helps me deal with it. Sometimes I call them “epiphany moments,” those times where I say, “Oh, that makes sense.” I avoid the sensationalism or exaggerated news, sometimes called “yellow journalism,” that raises my stress like watching a horror movie. Instead, I look for objectivity and facts. “Tell it to me straight.” The unknown causes me more anxiety than the known.

Study the Science

Looking at the science helps . I say science because with many unfounded “stories,” wives tales, and home remedies posted on the internet it’s easy to fall into believing they are true. Data usually does not lie. Science is backed with data and studies over a wide group of people. So, once I find information, I check how many sites actually support the information and, in particular, how many scientific sites.

Read “the Book”

I have books in my library, religious or otherwise, that inspire me to calm the storm in my mind. Just reading a few lines each day calms me enough to move through my day.

Concentrate on Breath

Concentrate on breathing not your thoughts. Thoughts are just that. They are not reality; they are perceived reality. When I concentrate on my breath, count the air flow in and out, I take power from my fear and give it to my body. This calms my mind because I no longer put energy toward my imagination. It’s a meditation technique. I meditate daily and concentrating on my breathing is a large part of it. When I am most anxious, I’ll do the meditation technique three times in a row until my mind starts to quiet.

Be Grateful

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met the man who had no feet.”

Helen Keller

Sometimes just being grateful helps me remember how much I have in my life. I must also look at the things I take for granted and be thankful. I look around me or at myself. I am so blessed. It can always be far worse, and if my time comes, I will be thankful for the life I have been given.

Develop positive affirmations

Certain affirmative phrases come to mind that help me through a situation. I like many of the same ones. They are like my mantras: “This too shall pass;” “Out of everything bad that happens, something good will come;” or “I will not go quietly into this good night.”

Set Goals

Setting goals helps me feel more empowered and less a victim. Where is it I could realistically be in five years? I focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t do. Sometimes that means radical change for me.

It’s so easy to put energy into past regrets or future uncertainties. I look to focus where I realistically can and want to be instead of what might happen. Sometimes I need to ask questions, activate new a approach or prospective or make tough decision before a more focused future was possible.

Listen to Music

This song moves me closer to joy.

There’s no doubt in my mind music helps calm my soul, raise my optimism, and motivate me to greater things. For my wife, it’s country music for me rock and roll. Sometimes it’s just one song you need to hear over and over — like the one to the right. When I get low, I crank it up.

Prayer

To me prayer is a form of mediation. It soothes my mind depending on my degree of fear. I do pray. Prayer can be in many forms.

Choose Courage

“Courage is often caused by fear.”

French proverb

When I think back, I needed to be courageous at different stages of my life. I felt fear many times. It felt like a fire, an anxiety fire, as I moved through my situation, my decision, or my actions. It felt horrible, yet, as I stepped through that fire, I came out the other side stronger and wiser. This would never happen had I not chosen to face my fears. When I avoided facing my fears or avoiding actions needed it cost me in my personal growth.

So, moving passed my fears, some with painful consequences, has helped me become a better me.

We all feel fear. I hope to keep learning techniques for dealing with my fears.

Peace, Joy, Love

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