Fear of fear

My talk this morning on Radio Live was all about anxiety and how we can use mindfulness skills to help us manage “fear of fear”.  (Click here for a link to the audio)

Fear of fear makes us want to block or avoid the primary fear, and when this happens the tangle begins. Normally two things happen. Fear of fear is like a self perpetuating machine, it quickly spirals out of control. At the same time it’s the most natural thing in the world to want to try and avoid the internal experience of fear. But the bad news: we’re really bad at this. This “thought suppression” as psychologists call it has been extensively studied, and the evidence is when we try and suppress thoughts it actually INCREASES our preoccupation with them.

So, I hear you asking, what are we supposed to do? Just be frightened?

Yes, sort of. The trick is to APPROACH NOT AVOID. This is what I call the paradox of anxiety.

And when it comes to feelings, thoughts, ideas and body sensations the best way to approach them is to utilise the techniques of mindfulness. Mindfulness teaches us, through experience and practice, that when we just watch a feeling or an emotion, it passes. It’s only what our mind does with thoughts and feelings that make them hang around.

This link (click here) will give you some really simple Mindfulness exercises, like the one I talked about this morning to practice.

If you want to know more you may also want to check out this video. And thanks for listening.

 

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