How To Release Fear And Anxiety In 20 Minutes
I used to wake up in the middle of the night with a feeling of terror in my gut. That cold, twisting, and turning that grips you with fear. There was nothing going on in my life that should make me have those feelings. But I noticed that it usually happened around 3 AM, the ‘witching hour’, the time when the veil between worlds is thin. Whenever I awoke my mind would run and it felt like something was terribly wrong in my life, something bad was happening, and it only surfaced when my conscious mind was asleep.
To get over it, I started telling myself that it was just my thoughts and in the morning, the sun would be shining and everything would be back to normal. When you feel the sense of terror or dread, it is like an icy knot in your stomach. You can’t think it away or focus on it to make it go away – trust me, I tried.
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So what causes it?
When you are exposed to a traumatic event, your body responds in a fight, flight, or freeze mode. This can trigger what is called the Pancreatic Reflex Point. It is a trigger in your body that causes your body to flood with stress hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. However, once it has been triggered it will react with every other similar event afterward. It cannot switch itself off. Over time, your body is no longer able to pick up the signal that it can stop producing the stress hormones.
Any event that has similar markers to the original event will cause your body to have a reaction. For example, if you had an armed robbery, your subconscious mind would have picked up on every tiny detail about the robbery. From the time of day, the smell, the colors, to the environment around you. Every time something triggers a reminder of that, your body will automatically respond in order to keep you safe.
Suppressing fear does not work
When we experience a stressful event, one of our coping mechanisms is to suppress it. Suppressing it might work in the short-term but you haven’t dealt with it, and so it is bubbling below the surface. Your subconscious mind will bring it up when your conscious mind is out of the way. It brings it up because it is just beneath your level of awareness and so is giving you the opportunity to process the memory and heal it.
Dealing with the fear
Fear is an emotion just like any other emotion, such as grief, anger, shame, and guilt. It serves its purpose to let you know there is danger. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real and happening in the moment or a memory of what happened. In order to process the memory, you need to witness the feeling in your body, without reacting to it. Study it as if you were an outsider looking in. When you have given yourself some distance from it, then you can ask yourself when else did you have this same feeling?
Keep going back until you get to the earliest memory of the feeling. Remember who was there and what happened to cause the feeling. Go to the specific part of the memory which made the feeling the worst. Now ask yourself, what did you need, as the younger you, in order to feel safe, loved, or protected. Give it to yourself and allow yourself to have the feeling, it is natural to have felt the way you did. Stay there as long as you need to have the feeling go away.
You might need to repeat this process a few times as you train your subconscious mind that there is no imminent danger. It can take up to 20 minutes of full focus to release the fear forever – a worthwhile investment of your time. Remember, the fear you have today does not come from today. It comes from a memory that you didn’t know how to deal with. When you find that you are able to deal with it, you will be able to function better, sleep better, and be more at peace.
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