My daughter Emily and I were discussing fear yesterday. She is at the age where anxiety begins to run rampant through a child’s mind. She imagines ‘the worst’ things possible occurring to her loved ones. She needs reassurances that I cannot give her - that nothing bad is going to happen. We live in a time where ‘bad’ things do happen. And people get sick, people have accidents, and young people die before their time. How can I reassure my kids that nothing bad is going to occur to any of us? I can’t.
But what I can do is give her the tools she needs to deal with anxiety and fearfulness when they occur. We talked about what to do when she begins feeling anxious and having scary thoughts. I told her to recognize the fear and even address it: “Hello fear. You’re here again.” And then go through a mental checklist of things that worry her: a family member having an accident, someone becoming ill, one of the dogs getting hurt, etc. She will then recognize that each thing has not occurred today and that everything is well in her world. Once she realizes that things are okay, she should imagine herself putting the fear somewhere - on a shelf or in a container of some sort.
She can address her fears later if they materialize; but, I think that by recognizing the anxiety, addressing it, sorting it out and then realizing it has no power, she can allow herself to relax a little and not worry so much. This works for adults too. I do it all the time.
Fear can be overwhelming and create havoc in our lives if we let it. It is important to learn that fear cannot hurt us. But it can indeed cause an emotional paralysis of sorts.
Recognize fear for what it is and deal with it before it gets you in its grips. Then banish it: be gone - you have no power here!
And start living again.