Fear. I was reminded today how powerful fear can be. My father had been “invited” to the doctor’s office. No one likes that invitation, especially if you have been healing from cancer surgery. My logical mind said, “They have been discussing his healing, it probably has to do with that…” but my emotional brain was saying “OMG, what if “it” is back! I’m SCARED!!! And so it went…bigger and scarier as my mind ran with the story of what “could be”.
Somewhere during this difficult day, it occurred to me I had the same feeling when our son was diagnosed with a learning issue. At that time my mind was saying, “How was he going to complete high school, get through college, what would he do to feel good about him self, find a career and be a contributing part of society?” The story I was making up was based in fear and getting worse every time I thought about it.
WHAT DOES FEAR FEEL LIKE?
Fear feels like it crashes down on you. The weight can be unbearable. You start shaking (maybe literally), your thinking goes foggy and perhaps you say some things you wish you hadn’t. What is important to know is this is what fear feels like. You have to hang on until it passes. It will. It always does. All those fearful (full of fear!) thoughts are at the heart of the unreal part of the story you are telling yourself.
DISABLE THE FEAR!
Instead of making up our story from a place of Fear, why not choose another perspective? We make up stories of how our life is going every day and then live those stories in just that way. It isn’t as simple as Think Like a Winner, Be a Winner, but starting from a place of fear, your story has a much greater chance of having a less than optimal ending.
To disable your fear take a couple of simple steps:
• Don't avoid Fear! That's right, don't try to pretend its not happening! Avoidance makes the fear monster grow! Instead, label it FEAR. Say to yourself I know this is fear. Only by becoming familiar with it can anything be done about it. Familiarity allows you the power to make the choice that it isn’t real!
• Recognize the flight or flight response that is beginning to flow in your body. Turn that response around by saying: “I am safe. I am calming down.”
• Practice a simple technique of 3 Deep Breaths which will focus your attention on something other than the fear. Deep breathing, fully expanding your lungs to bring life giving oxygen, counter balances the stress hormones that run through our bodies during the fight or flight response.
• Make a choice to review other possibilities for how you could write your story. Right there, in the moment, think to yourself how else may this story play out. Many times we don’t realize we have not given the positive choices an equal amount of time in our thoughts!
CREATE A LESS FEAR-FILLED FUTURE
As an exercise, develop a daily practice of 5 minutes of quietly watching your breath flow in and out of your body. This simple practice will make the 3 Deep Breath technique easy to access when needed. Research shows this daily practice helps train the mind to an awareness of our thoughts, physical sensations and emotions allowing us to calm down and refocus when under stress.
Have you felt fear around you or your child’s learning issue? Are your emotions in charge or are you making choices on how to write your story? If you are feeling fear it is likely your child is feeling it too. Try these techniques that will allow you to model behavior that will greatly reduce fear. This will allow your family to write a story with a happy ending!
Parents, do you have doubts raising your child with learning issues? You can raise confident capable kids despite learning issues. Reach out for answers to your most perplexing questions today!