To live calmly and freely and to beat fear has long been a dream of mine.
Fortunately, I discovered meditation and am always looking for the best resources for beginners.
This article was written by an excellent meditation teacher, Giovanni Dienstmann from Live & Dare, who developed this Unlimited Life Program to make the ancient wisdom of meditation accessible and digestible to a modern and western audience.
Check out the “Calm and Free” video HERE
The many faces of fear – – What fear does to your life
Am i really scared?
Some people think that "fear" is what you have when you cannot function in life, cannot leave home, are constantly paralyzed by fear, and need medication to live normally.
This is just one of the faces of fear in its weakest form.
In a broader sense, fear is a very common mental pattern that affects millions of people on one level or another. It is a challenge that we have to face on our journey as humans.
Here is another expression of fear, much more common but equally problematic:
I wake up in the morning to the sound of my alarm clock. I can't believe it's time to get up … I feel tired and demotivated, like I've barely slept.
The last thing I remember is rolling back and forth on my bed trying to fall asleep while my mind is spinning around with all sorts of nonsense.
I don't want to wake up now. There are many challenges waiting for me and I don't know what to do. Things i need to find out …
I am concerned about my financial situation, my mortgage, and my health habits. I think about my relationship and how it can fall apart and put me in a bad situation. I wonder if I'll lose my job soon and if I'm in the right place in life after all.
There is a sense of guilt at times that I am not the best parent I can be. And I also regret that I have not consistently pursued my goals. So I didn't expect things to work out for me and I know I am missing out a lot. I just don't know what to do about it.
Ah, and I'm going to need this difficult talk at work soon. I keep finding myself rehearsing in my head and wondering what people will think of me.
As I do this, I feel a feeling of tightness in my chest and shoulders and a lump in my stomach. My heartbeat is increasing My mouth is dry It doesn't feel good.
That background noise of worry, stress and fear has been around for a while. I don't really enjoy being where I am in life, and I rarely feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my day.
I know a lot of it doesn't make a lot of sense and that a lot of my fears are irrational. But I still can't stop it. It's like my mind has a life of its own and isn't listening to me!
What's wrong with me Will this ever go away or is it just the way I am wired?
(The alarm goes off again.)
If I could, I'd call in sick, come up with an excuse, and take a day off – to avoid all this clutter. But even if I do, my mind is not going to relax me, so I better get out and about and get on with my day. Maybe it will go away by itself …
– Diary of a frightened person
Does that even sound familiar to you?
You may face similar challenges, but no one can tell. They all think that you have it all together. But inside you know that you are walking on thin ice. Simple things are no longer so simple and every day takes a lot of effort. You are not really happy.
If any of that resonates, read on. To have full clarity about the problem is the first step to the solution.
Is that really a big deal?
It is possible to live without fear. And once you fully understand the consequences of fear, you will have the fuel to overcome it.
We know the physical symptoms that can accompany anxiety: your heartbeat increases, you may sweat or have a dry mouth, and your body is tense (usually your chest and shoulders). Some also feel a lump in their stomach, dizziness, or troubled breathing.
However, the mental and emotional symptoms can be harder to spot as fear can show up in disguise. Now let's pull down the curtains and understand this better.
Anxiety is often the root of the following problems:
- Procrastination & Avoidance
Fear triggers discomfort and anxiety in certain circumstances. To avoid dodging, the whole time you can convince yourself that you better not go, that you don't have to say this, or that you better not even try. Or you deceive yourself and say "Yes, I'll do it later" and hesitate without end.
- Addiction & emotional eating
Anxiety is a stressful emotional state. To escape this, you can engage in addictive behavior that will give you short-lived anxiety relief but not really solve anything. Examples: drinking, gambling, shopping, internet addiction. These have many side effects, damage your health, waste time and money, and put a strain on your motivation.
- Lack of focus
When your mind is preoccupied with so many thoughts, it is difficult to focus it on a single task for any length of time. As a result, your job performance suffers, as does your ability to be present in your relationships and be a good listener.
- Restlessness & excitement
The meditation masters say that "our minds are like a drunken monkey jumping from branch to branch". Fear is part of this fuel that moves our energy in a thousand directions with no center and no rest.
It's normal to feel stuck in life when you are constantly worried about what is going to happen. Whichever options you consider, your mind will focus on the negative and tell you a bad story. It feels like you want to get out of here but you don't know how.
- Little energy
Thinking takes energy. Fear wastes your energy creating spirals of thoughts that go nowhere and repeat day after day. As a result, you have less energy to spend on the really important things in life.
- Bad sleep
Many people struggle with sleep problems these days. Anxiety occupies your mind at night, making it difficult to fall asleep, and preventing you from sleeping deeply. You may have the best bed and nighttime routine, but if you can't relax and turn off your mind, you're missing out on sleep.
- Low self-esteem
Fear worries you too much about your performance, what others think of you, and what will happen. As a result, you lose confidence in yourself and in your abilities. Not so sure about taking action and showing up because you don't want to risk failure or disappointment. There can also be a feeling of low self-esteem, that "I am not good enough".
When your mind is preoccupied with fear, it becomes loud and foggy. It will then be more difficult to think clearly, see all of your options, and make good decisions. As a result, you often make decisions that you later regret. Or you may not be able to take advantage of the opportunities that arise in your life.
- Tension & stress
Stress is often the cause of anxiety; But fear keeps turning the wheel of stress. Our own mind becomes a great source of stress in our life. On the other hand, tension in your body – especially in your chest, neck, and shoulders – can be a symptom of underlying anxiety.
Fear can make you moody and less resilient. You have less space in you because your mind is preoccupied with a lot of negativity. Things look worse than they actually are. Fear makes you feel like you are not in a happy place, the world is full of danger, and often things go wrong. As a result, you become more irritable and very reactive.
- Insecurity & self-doubt
Fear can make you feel like you are not good enough all the time. You overestimate the "dangers" out there and underestimate your ability to deal with the adversities of life. As a result, you feel disempowered.
Any of the above challenges are already enough to make your life more difficult. They can affect your health, finances, job performance, and even your relationships.
If you're reading this page, you are likely facing at least one of these challenges. I've been there too and I know it sucks.
Maybe you got used to it. Perhaps fear, although painful, has become a comfort zone for you. It's "the hell you know" …
Please don't do that! You limit yourself.
Life will be much better when you learn to overcome (or at least manage better) anxiety. It is absolutely possible and I'm here to show you how!
- Fear is limiting in many ways – and it's a bigger problem than you might have thought.
- Overcoming fear will be a big change in your life (more on that soon).
- Overcoming fear is worth the effort. You owe it to yourself!
Anxiety: The symptom of a bigger problem
As you have seen, fear is at the root of many other challenges in our lives.
And if we dig deeper, we'll see that anxiety itself is the symptom of a bigger problem: Lack of mental and emotional fitness.
We know very well how important physical fitness is. But most people don't know exactly how important mental fitness really is.
It's even more important than physical fitness … because if your body is healthy and strong, but your mind is suffering, you are not doing well at all. On the other hand, it is possible that your body is sick but your mind is still healthy and happy (many of us have been there).
So your mind is the most important element in your life. It defines how you feeling, what you doand who you will be. It determines whether you are having a good day or a bad day. It is the glasses through which you see life and see yourself.
Your life is the way your mind is.
Anxiety can be overcome by working on your mental and emotional fitness.
Just as you need good nutrition and regular exercise for your body, you also need good nutrition and regular exercise for your mind. Your mind needs a gym to keep it fit, strong, and healthy.
Wisdom is the nourishment of the mind and meditation is the exercise of the mind.
When you hear the call and decide to watch your mental fitness, a new life is possible.
Check out the “Calm and Free” video HERE
The calm, centered and focused life
What happens when you start to take good care of yourself, your mental and emotional fitness? Anxiety and stress decrease and well-being increases.
This is how a journal entry in the anxious person's life after a good dose of mental fitness might look like.
After a good night, I wake up rested and rested. My body feels relaxed and light.
The thought comes that I have some pretty challenging things to do at work today. I think about it a little, but then I decide to get up and do my short morning meditation.
After meditating, I feel calm and clear. There is this feeling of lightness and flow in my body. Meditation gives me a sense of control over my mind and my life. There is this distance between me and my thoughts so that they are easier to work with.
This makes me more confident that I will be able to master any challenges that arise today because I know my strengths and trust myself. As a result, there is less worry.
I then remember how it used to be for me. I really wasn't in a good place and didn't have a strong center – although I couldn't see it fully at the time. In retrospect, it feels like I'm living in a cage that I made myself.
Now things are very different. I am on a journey of growth and self-transformation with other people. I take better care of myself, have energy for my goals and priorities, and feel happier about who I am.
My moods are much more stable. I am less reactive and always feel better under my skin. In the background there is a feeling of calm and contentment, no matter what is happening. I am more optimistic and have more control over myself and my life.
Even when negative thinking emerges or when fear tries to lift my head, I know exactly how to deal with it. Fear and stress no longer define me. I choose who I want to beMoment by moment.
I end my day satisfied and look forward to tomorrow.
That kind of transformation happened to me. It happened to many others.
With the right tools, guidance, and support, this can happen for you too!
"Yeah, I want to believe it's possible, but I've tried a few things and nothing really worked …" I heard you say.
Now that you are more aware of all of this, you need to make a decision: "What am I going to do about it?"
Let's look at your options and use the Mind Gym as a metaphor:
1 – Do nothing
Forget about mental fitness and hope for the best.
- Nothing will change. If anything, the situation worsens over time.
2 – drug
Take the "Lose Weight While You Sleep" Pill!
- Takes no effort and can bring instant relief.
- Doesn't treat the underlying causes, only manages the symptoms.
- Commonly contains side effects such as: fatigue, upset stomach, drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, muscle weakness and sexual dysfunction.
- There is a risk of becoming addicted and needing higher doses each time to get the same effects.
- Ongoing charge ($ 30 per month and more).
3 – therapy
Hire a personal trainer
- Very individual and supported.
- Can be effective if you find the right professional for you.
- Can be time consuming and very expensive.
- Sometimes there is a lot of talk, but there are no practical tools to really overcome fear.
4 – Books & Apps
Buy the weights to train yourself at home.
- Can work very well if they are of high quality and you have the discipline to stick to daily practice yourself.
- No support and no accountability.
- There can be a lot of trial and error before you find the good sources.
- Most people give up after a while before they experience the real benefits.
Like many other people, you may find that none of these options are all that great.
Allow me to show you another way: meditation and conscious life.
These are natural methods that will have a positive effect on your entire life.
Meditation for fear
Meditation is a proven way to manage anxiety effectively. It has neither the cost of therapy nor the side effects of drugs.
There is research to suggest that meditation and mindfulness are just as effective as drugs (but without those nasty side effects!) In treating anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. And it doesn't have to take too long. In fact, there are studies that show that a single meditation session (done right) is already effective in reducing anxiety.
That is why millions of people try to meditate. Many, indeed Doctors and therapists actively recommend it for people struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression. I have helped several people who came to me learn meditation after all other methods failed.
Here are some ways meditation can help relieve anxiety and stress:
- Reduces the flow of thoughts and stimuli
- Allows you to relax deeply and release all tension
- Allows you to stop, re-center, and slow down
- Changes your relationship with your thoughts and emotions
- Teaches you how to accept yourself and accept uncertainty
- Gives you more control over your mind
- Shows you how to let go of negative narratives
- Gives you access to contentment and peace no matter what
Check out the “Calm and Free” video HERE
The only challenge is this: You need to find the best meditation technique for yourself, practice it daily, and incorporate it into your life. I call these the three pillars of meditation (technique, habit and integration).
Only by doing this will you find consistent benefits and use the superpowers of meditation in your daily life.
Very few people can develop these three pillars on their own. And if they can, then only after a lot of effort, trial and error, study and self-discipline. It's just too difficult for most of us.
The good news is that there is an easier way that, with the help of a community and an instructor, you can break it all down for you in simple daily steps.