Over the past few weeks, I have been writing about different types of anxiety and the stories we write in our heads as a result. We tend to move towards catastrophic thinking, all-or-nothing thinking, or worrying about the future. Dealing with anxiety is learning to silence these thoughts.
The question remains: what do we think about instead?
In Chip Dodd’s book,Voice of The Heart (a book I HIGHLY recommend), Chip identifies eight core emotions. He observes that there is an impaired side and a healthy side of each emotion. Emotions are a language inside of us telling us what is going on internally. I will probably do a series on emotions in the future, but for right now let’s focus on FEAR.
So on a chart, the emotion of fear would look like this:
The message of fear is “I am in Danger.”
When the “I am in danger” sense comes upon us, we can choose to go back to all the anxious “what ifs?” ...OR we can move towardfaith and wisdom.
A Real Life Example
A woman is shopping in a mall. When she walks outside, it is dark. She notices the fear in her body and her thoughts telling her, “I could be in danger.” It is the reality that a dark parking lot can be a place of danger.
She has some choices. She can move towards anxiety:“I’m going to get mugged.” “I’m so stupid! Why did I do this?” She could think about all the bad things that might happen and why it’s her fault.
She can move to faith and wisdom.
Faith says,“I have the ability to get to my car safely.”
Wisdom tells her to be intentional about actions she can take to keep herself safe.
She gets her keys out of her purse before she leaves the mall.
She pays attention to her surroundings as she walks to her car.
She keeps her thumb on the horn button in case she needs to alert someone.
She may even ask security to walk her to the car.
So instead of focusing on “what ifs” and worry, she reaches inside of herself for courage and empowerment. She listens to faith and wisdom and allows the healthy thoughts to guide her to safety.
Fear is not a bad thing.Fear is just a message.
Consider: when are you most likely to feel fear? The next time you feel fear, ask yourself,“how can I lean toward faith and wisdom in this moment?”
Thanks for following along in this series. I hope these ideas will help you move away from anxiety and towards faith and wisdom. You can do this!
Donna Durham, MMFT
President and Founder
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|Flannel||N / A|
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