by Sandy Walden
When I feel my level of anxiety rising, I like to play a game. Anxiety is a form of fear. How would it be to give Fear a shape, size, texture, face, voice, the whole bit? Then imagine him walking down the path toward the house. He tries the knob - but it won't turn as it's locked. Whew! Okay, he has to knock or ring the bell. Now there is a bit more control because you get to choose whether or not to let Fear into the house.
Sometimes we forget to lock the door, it happens. That's okay, how would it be to remind yourself that 'this is my house. If fear is allowed to enter, it is on my terms.' Maybe you need to sit with him for a while. Talk about why he visits and what his visits mean to me. Can you feel the level of worry returning to normal as you do this?
Fear is good for us! It keeps us from eating poisonous frogs and playing with fire. It's only when Fear gets too big for his britches that we want to bring him under control again. So, I'm not eager to banish Fear. I want to know what it's about.
If you sit and have a chat with Fear, you might realize that yes, these worries are all possibilities. However, they are not realities. Realistically at this moment, as far as you know, everyone you love is well and safe. Deep breaths - in and out. Look Fear in the eye and consider why he is here. There's a message for you. Claudia Hammond offers this advice based on the research of Dutch clinical psychologist Ad Kerkoff: