Fear can be a very powerful emotion that forms the bars of our emotional cages. Often we worry about things that haven't even happened yet! Control, perfectionism, worry, fear and anxiety are all cousins that feed each other.
When we are afraid, we try to control things and that can lead to perfectionism. If life isn't as "perfect" as we hoped it would be, then worry and anxiety can keep us awake at night and in a state of alert during our waking hours.
There are always things that generate fear but there are also things that can be done to reduce anxiety:
1. Media - Having twenty-four hour access to world news can be a threat to good mental health. Journalists used to report the news. I find that now they spin the news with opinion that is meant to attract attention through sensationalism, a situation that evokes negative emotions. The solution: Limit yourself!
2. Illness - The strange thing is that if you worry too much about your physical or mental health, you become more vulnerable. Do what you can to stay well but don't invest too much of your time thinking about the worst things that might happen.
3. Relationships - You do have control - but only about your own thoughts, feelings and actions. No matter how badly you want another person to change, you cannot orchestra that. Know your limits. You can encourage and offer ideas but the buck stops with the other person. Live and let live!
4. Weather - Good luck with that one! Just make sure that you don't make foolish decisions such as heading out into a storm or ignoring warnings given by experts who have accurate information about patterns that are threatening.
5. Finances - The formula is very simple. Spend less than your income. If you are not sure where to start or how to lay out a plan, book an appointment with a professional who will help you.
6. Career - When you are unhappy in your work it is time to consider your options. Often a short retraining program will open up a new and exciting opportunity for you. Don't just sit and wait for something to happen. Make it happen!
7. Social settings - When you avoid activities because you think that others will judge you - think again! Most people are so involved in their own lives and interests that they actually are not giving you much notice at all. Learning a few skills can build your confidence and help you to enjoy time with others.
8. Unfamiliar situations - The best way to deal with the unknown is to get good information. For example, if you are to appear in Court, do some research in advance. Visit the Court House and ask staff about expectations and procedures. If you need to travel to an unfamiliar area, consider your options and plan the route in advance. Choose the times when there will be less traffic. Be proactive rather than reactive.
The New Living translation of ancient scriptures offers us all good advice:
"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
Really, it is all about focus. Focus on trouble and it is yours! Focus on positives and you win!
The choice is yours.