Considering the implications of being forced to stay indoors and avoid seeing friends and family beyond a computer screen has implied a lot of self-reflection.
Psychologist and author, Stephen Varanko III, has written a new essay on using this time productively to engage with the negative sides of our mental landscape and sheds light on the darker corners of our thought processes.
As a result, he has identified 4 steps to embrace one’s own fear. Regarding fear as an effective survival tool in our evolution, modern living behaviors and norms coincided with media portrayals has caused an abundance of personal demons to flourish. Here are 4 practical measures one can take to face up to them.
Shape of your fears
Writing things down can be an effective start and release for your mental processing. Seeing the words form and set to their meaning can allow you to integrate what effects they are having on you. Building a spider diagram will allow one to capture very quickly the issues that are bothering you but also to make links between them to discover the deeper level of fear that unites them.
Jot down your fears as they come to you on a large sheet of paper and write what links them. This will be a reference diagram of the shape of your fears.
For balance, make a similar diagram but about the things you have achieved and issues you have overcome.
Have a conversation with your younger self.
Consider what you were like at 10 years old. And at 20 years and so on. Formulate an additional list and refer to this when having a dialogue with yourself.
The obvious trend will be that the things that bothered you then have likely, but not always, disappeared. Evidencing this will be vital proof that you have grown and galvanized yourself against those fears.
Applying this logic to your current circumstances will give you some encouragement that you will continue this trend and grow from the experience. It need not be a tragedy but a lesson. Engagement and reflection and honesty are key to this trend.
Dwell with those things that unnerve you.
Hiding only delays the healing.
Group your fears into categories and answer them with a simple scenario that would expose you to these feelings. Now make this scenario happen but with small gradual steps to dwell in these uncomfortable situations. But with an exit strategy!
An example- You hate social situations with strangers. Answer- accept an invitation and stay for an hour with a taxi pre booked. Attempt to relax inside the exercise and if in doubt, ask questions to people and have your phone ready for distraction if you are on your own.
Positive reinforcement is key. Recognize your efforts in facing your fears and embrace the small achievements by rewarding yourself with a positive activity and perhaps something you haven’t done in a while.
Finally, compliment others more as a way of defining not only your internal dialogue but to build up a culture around you. When people feel they are being recognized they are more likely identify your strengths.