How to manage fear before it manages you

If you’re too focused on your fears, turn your attention away from what is draining you and focus instead on what inspires or charges you. (Jojo Struys pic)

We all have fears but fear wears so many hats and it exists in so many different forms and guises.

If fear was a person in your life, you might describe it as someone who was versatile, with many faces, and negative enough to pull someone down or cast a shadow of doubt on any of your goals and dreams.

We all know the power of this force and the effects it can have from standing in the way of reaching your goals.

Yet, when fear shows up at your doorstep, why would anyone let it in and allow its gloomy presence to linger around?

For every inspired thought you might have, fear can act like a “wet blanket”, throwing water over the fire you might need from within, to start something new, and to get excited enough about something to see it through.

Some of us even carry our fears to sleep and that’s when fear starts to disturb your sleeping patterns, almost like a child nudging you in the night for attention, when all you really want is disconnect from the stresses of your day, and be able to sleep in peace.

When we allow fear to rule us, we are no longer in the driver’s seat, or in control of our minds, so there is a feeling of restlessness, or being unsettled.

Some fears are obvious and some are subtle, such that we may not be aware we are behaving in a certain way due to these underlying fears.

Sometimes, asking big picture questions can reveal very telling results. This is where meditation can act as an incredible tool to force us to take a closer look at our lives, like a sudden reality check.

In that quiet state, meditation helps us to access some harsh truths, but only if you can get past the initial discomfort of not wanting to accept what you might find out about yourself.

The self-awareness and compassion it can bring is so enlightening.

Meditation can act as an incredible tool to force one to take a closer look at one’s life, like a reality check. (Rawpixel pic)

We always think we know ourselves fairly well until a question pops up that you don’t immediately know the answer to.

This could be anything from “Am I happy at work?” to “Do I really want to be in this relationship?” to some hidden motivations that could be masking the fears we may not consciously realise at the time.

For instance, one of my students was surprised to discover the real truth behind the friction she had with her daughter’s boyfriend when she was at a ‘Ho’oponopono’ workshop linked to forgiveness and letting go, at OhanaJo Studio earlier this year.

Her daughter’s boyfriend had never done anything “wrong” to her, yet she seemed so against him, which had also caused a strain on the mother and daughter’s relationship.

In a guided meditation, I simply asked the group to ask themselves some big picture questions starting with how happy they were in the different areas of their lives and to be perfectly honest and accepting of whatever truths might arise.

All of a sudden, the questions just came to her, though she was almost embarrassed by the answers. She asked herself, “Why did I tell my daughter I did not like her partner? Is that the truth or I simply don’t like the attention she gives him, because once upon a time, she gave all that attention to me?”

And it became so clear to her, that her fears of losing her own daughter’s love and attention was what had triggered the tension between all three of them.

Fear made her want to control the situation, or make her daughter’s partner look bad by always complaining about him, but it was driving her daughter away. That’s what fear does, sadly. It pushes and repels whereas love would open and expand to allow more positivity, respect and love to bloom.

At a time like this when there is so much uncertainty facing us due to the pandemic sweeping the world and creating such enormous upheaval in its wake, fear might start to literally set up camp in your life, disturbing your mind and getting in the way of you spending your time more wisely or peacefully.

If you feel you’re already wasting precious time and energy focused on your fears, it’s time to turn your attention away from what is draining you and instead, focus on what inspires or charges you.

It is a vital time to stay positive, stay grounded and not give fear the satisfaction of becoming a “squatter” in your mind.

Throw yourself into positive action whether it’s baking a dish you’ve always wanted to make, to spring-cleaning the house, to listening to motivational podcasts, to attempting that yoga pose you thought was beyond you, to wholeheartedly embracing a morning fitness regimen to keep you busy, active and focused enough to keep those nasty shadows of doubt at bay.

Sending you all loads of positive vibes at this time!

Jojo Struys is the founder of OhanaJo Studio. She is offering Free Online Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation sessions by donations every day during the MCO period in an effort to help Malaysians stay physically fit and emotionally more calm, during this difficult time.

You can check out their online classes on https://www.ohanajo.com/