There are some times and places which are scarier than others.
For some of us, it is when we give a presentation or sit an exam.
For some of us, it could be an interview.
Or it could even be when we are in hospital, or in a bank, or a social situation where we have no idea what people are saying.
These times and places are scary when we are speaking our own language. So when we are in a foreign country where everything is new, this fear can grow dramatically.
What I would like to offer is three ideas to bring this fear down and help you to feel safer.
When we are scared, our breathing changes. It is shorter and irregular.
When our breathing is shorter, our bodies know that we are panicking. When this happens, we panic more.
So it really is as simple as taking ten deep breaths.
Start with three, then see if you can do more. When you finish ten, see how you feel in your body.
The wonderful thing is that you can practice this now. In this way, it will become a habit for you in everyday life. When it is a habit, we can do it more and more in the situations which are scary for us.
2. Whatever you are feeling is OK.
In my experience, the main reason why I panic is just because I think I SHOULDN’T be panicking.
When I tell myself ‘stop panicking, stop panicking, I need to stop panicking,’ I actually panic more.
This is because you are putting more stress on top of your stress.
We can take away this extra stress just by saying ‘it is OK to feel this way.’
For example, maybe you are in a hospital and everything is different from the hospitals in your country PLUS you have no idea what people are saying. And you are scared.
You can simply say: ‘OK. I am scared. I understand why. Everything is different. I don’t understand what is happening. So of course I am scared. So it is OK to feel scared.’
It’s strange, but I find it very calming to do this. And when I feel calmer, I can think more clearly and feel more relaxed.
3. Everything will be OK.
This step allows you to trust.
When we are in a scary time and place, where everything is unsure, we don’t know what will happen next. As humans, that is scary for us.
When we are scared, we often ‘catastrophise.’ This means we believe that the worst thing is going to happen.
I am in a hospital: ‘I am (or someone I know is) going to die’
I am in a bank: ‘I am going to lose all my money’
I don’t know what people are saying: ‘These people are saying bad things about me.’
Again this is OK. It is understandable.
But it is always important to remember that these are only thoughts in our head. It may not happen in this way. It might be OK.
In my life so far, I have been in a lot of scary situations. And I am still alive.
Maybe things didn’t happen in the way I wanted, but what happened was OK.
Now when I am in a scary situation, I remember this.
I invite you to look back on your life. Look at the scary times and places. What happened? Did the worst thing ALWAYS happen? Or were there times when it was OK?
And are you still alive now?
Again, I find this practice brings the fear down. It grounds me and brings me back to what is happening now, NOT what I think might happen in the future.
- Being scared is OK
- It will be OK.
These are three simple steps that will help you to stay in the present moment.
We do not need the past to tell us about the bad things that happened before. We do not need our panic to tell us the bad things that MIGHT happen in the future.
All we have to do is to stay here and now. When we stay here and now, we can see clearly that there is NOTHING to be scared of.
What do you think? Comment below and let’s talk about this.