How to Face Your Fear

Determined little girl facing her fear

Many people are overwhelmed by fear, uncertainty, stress, and anxiety as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe. So, my purpose in this article is to give you a process to help you face your feelings and manage your negative emotions during this time of upheaval.

Face your feelings

Understandably, we want to avoid negative emotions. And yet, have you heard the saying that “what you resist persists?” Avoiding our feelings doesn’t make them go away. They just go underground and come out in more harmful ways—such as aches and pains, illness, irritability, sadness or shutting down, or even engaging in destructive, avoidance or addictive behaviors like excessive drinking, drugs, gambling, media consumption, abusing others, pornography, etc.

So, I’m asking you to pay attention to your emotions. Often, this is a short pause in which you ask yourself what you’re feeling at the moment and then look inward, at the physical sensations and feelings in your body.
The idea is to give your feelings space, not try to get rid of them. Relax into them. Allow them to be. It is okay to feel anxiety or fear or irritation, whatever it might be. Be compassionate about what you feel, as a way of taking care of yourself when you notice persistent negative emotion.

A process for dealing with strong emotions

And let me take this a step further by offering you a process to deal with your strong emotions. You’ll need ten to twenty minutes when you can be alone.

Lie down on a bed. Take in a few deep breaths and begin to calm yourself by following your breathing for a number of cycles. Then pay attention to your physical senses, the light and sights around you, any sounds in your environment.

Then go inside and notice your physical sensations. I often work my way down my body, paying attention to any sensations in my head, then face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, legs, feet, etc.

I then notice my emotions (fear, anxiety, dread, sadness, etc.). The key is to avoid going into your head and instead stay connected to your body. Perhaps your emotions seem vague. You may not be able to name them. That’s okay. Just notice what your body feels like. Practice being connected to it. Allow and relax into your feelings.

Finally, notice your thoughts. No need to challenge or control them. Simply notice, like watching individual clouds as they blow across the sky. Pay attention to them as they drift into and out of your consciousness.

Although it seems scary, facing your feelings and allowing your fears in this way will provide you with relief. You’ll come to recognize that you’re bigger than your fear (or disappointment, anger, depression, etc.).

Once you’ve really paid attention to your inner experience in this way, go ahead and get back to the events of the day, knowing that you will need to repeat this process from time to time.


About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com>.

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