There used to be an old radio show called "The Shadow." The Shadow was this crime-fighting character who, among his many traits, had "the power to cloud men's minds." The Shadow used this power for good, unlike THEFEARMONSTER who uses it to make us forget our ability to cope when our anxieties and fears seem so real, crippling and monstrous in size.
However, we've all had challenges and obstacles that we have overcome or pushed through in spite of our fears. Like going on a job interview, giving a presentation before a group, talking to a member of the opposite sex as a teen, learning to ride a bike or jumping off the high board into the pool. Fear is a bully that we overcome by facing it, avoiding it makes it stronger.
So here's a simple exercise to rediscover and apply some of the coping skills you've used successfully in the past:
1) Identify three fears or anxieties you've experienced in the past.
2) What did you do to cope with or continue to function in spite of the anxiety?
3) How do you know the coping tool(s) you used were successful, what was the outcome?
4) What other coping skills have you used in the past to help you face and overcome fear?
5) How can you use these skills again to help you with your current fears or anxieties?
6) Make a list of these skills, identifying as many as you can. You'll probably be surprised at how many you come up with.
There's a photo in my office of me as a young Marine officer in Vietnam. I keep it there because 1) I look cool and macho and 2) it's a reminder that if I can get through that experience I can probably face most anything that today or the future throws at me.
If something's worked in the past it's probably going to work again. It's when we quit doing what's working that things get off track. So stop doing what's not working and get back to doing what does work. See you next time.
Next Time: KNOWING WHAT TO FEAR