6 Tips to Relax the Grip of Fear and Anxiety

A common comment I receive when I share my story to a live audience is “I could never do that” to which I reply “I have changed a lot”. Sure I still get nervous, but I am motived to encourage people in whatever storms they face in life. The old me would have never accepted an invitation to speak. When I had to complete oral presentations at both High School and University I would be counting down the seconds until it was over. So I would like to share 6 tips that have helped me to relax the grip of fear and anxiety.

Bite size pieces: I had a lot of built up struggles: self – hatred; crippling fear and anxiety; emotional baggage from past traumatic experiences; a struggle to find happiness; grief; and the list goes on. It was very overwhelming as I looked at all the walls in my life. By focusing on one or two at a time those walls that seemed impossible now appeared shakeable. As an additional note, sometimes I have to revisit something or explore a new layer, much like an archaeologist.

Identify your triggers: In 2016 when I hit rock bottom (suicidal thoughts) it was because I hated myself and desperately wanted to be someone else; but a thought occurred to me in the midst of the turmoil ‘I would always be me’, so I figured I had better start liking me. Lack of self –love was a trigger for me so I began to take small steps in being more loving towards myself, of seeing myself more as how Jesus saw me.

Put strategies in place: My counsellor suggested one session that I write down every fear that I have. It was a long list as I was practically afraid of everything. The key themes in the list were powerless, vulnerable and trapped. Then we worked through that list, and giving me strategies to cope, targeting those three themes so I don’t feel so afraid.

Outside help can give a different perspective: Truth be told I wasn’t thrilled about having to use a counsellor, I guess I went and saw one because my family was really worried. The insights and strategies were helpful. I spoke to my counsellor via phone so I had no excuses and I liked the convenience. I am in a much healthier place now that I don’t need to have counselling, but it was really important while I worked through some really challenging stuff and I can always go back to my counsellor if need be.

Have a holistic approach to health: Our health is interconnected i.e. physical, mental and emotional health etc. I have found that improving behaviours in all areas has really helped reduce my anxiety and fears and increased my ability to cope.

My not so secret ingredient…: Is Jesus, in my own journey it has been Jesus who has helped me break the strangulating grip of fear and anxiety in my life. He fought beside me with power, strength, patience and love.

Please notice that the title of this blog post is NOT, ‘6 tips to have no fear or anxiety’ that is unrealistic; everyone struggles with fear and anxiety to some degree. I wrote this to share what has worked for me as a starting point to discovering what works for you. Everyone is different and as such have different journeys. I still struggle with fear and anxiety but I am continuing to learn how to live free, despite its presence in my life.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Love to you!

Cathryn

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