What To Do When You Feel Afraid

Tips from a chronic pain recovery therapist

Healing is simply this: Meeting your fear with acknowledgment, empathy and love.

Suffering happens when our protective mechanisms become chronic. Protective mechanisms like: Hyper-vigilance, anxiety, physical pain… These are all “danger” alarms that our nervous system sets into motion to protect us. But when our protective mechanisms become chronic, they start to smother us.⁠

Protective mechanisms are triggered by fear. Chronic protective mechanisms are held in place by chronic fear.

To heal the symptoms, we need to address the fear.⁠

But if we address the fear as a problem to be solved or an unwanted part to be exiled, guess what happens?⁠

Fear freaks out. Wouldn’t you freak out if you were treated as a problem or an undesirable?⁠

Trying to fix fear won’t fix fear. Fear doesn’t need to be fixed. Fear needs these three simple things in order to feel safe again:⁠

1️⃣ Fear needs to be 𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗹𝗲𝗱𝗴𝗲𝗱. Name the fear.⁠

2️⃣ Fear needs to be 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘇𝗲𝗱 with. Tell fear you get it. You’ve been afraid before. You know what that feels like, and it’s a difficult thing to experience.⁠

3️⃣ Fear needs to be 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱. Tell fear, “I’m here for you. I care about you. I’m your biggest supporter and I will take care of you. I’ve got you. I love you.”⁠

But what if you’re afraid to try this approach? Then start by acknowledging, empathizing with and loving 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 fear. 💖⁠

With total and infinte belief in you,

Anna

PATIENT ADVISORY

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The article lives here: Mental HealthWhat To Do When You Feel Afraid
Anna Holtzmanhttp://www.annaholtzman.com
Anna Holtzman is a chronic pain recovery therapist and coach based in New York City.
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