How to Talk Back to the Fear & Why You Should
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Talk back to anxious, fearful, or intrusive thoughts
Fear is a feeling, an emotion, a motivator, and an immobilizer. Sometimes it keeps us stuck in the same place, other times it keeps us pushing forward. Commonly it shows up in every day life. When you've gotten a big promotion, or you've applied to a program and are awaiting results, or even when you find out you're going to be a parent FEAR is present. It can turn into anxious or intrusive thoughts pretty quickly, causing you to question yourself, doubt your abilities, try to predict the future actions of others, and worry unnecessarily. Anxiety makes us feel tired, wired, and out of control. That anxiety feels like butterflies inside your stomach, or like someone loosed a leaf pile with a leaf blower inside your mind. This post aim is to settle those leaves back into order.
I've learned some ways to talk back to those thoughts, and get them under control again. Helping you regain some sense of balance, appropriate control, and resilience.
What is it you're saying to yourself? Be specific. Anxiety over pregnancy sounds like "What if the baby doesn't make it?" , "What if I'm a bad mom" or "What if there's something wrong with my baby?" Write down the specific thoughts that are troubling you. Then pick the biggest one to start with.
Connect it to your feelings
Think about, reflect on, or otherwise identify the feeling or emotion connected to your thought. "What if there's something wrong with my baby?" ----- Fear, Guilt, or Helplessness probably go alongside that.
Within this step, go nuts. Write as many truths as you can think of that balance, counter act, or speak in some way to the anxious thought. Use the feelings as leads - What caused them? Have you acted in a way to create those feelings? Are there pieces you are leaving out? Is the fear based in possible danger or in likely danger?
An example again would be the thought: "What if there's something wrong with my baby" ---- Feelings: Fear, Guilt, Helplessness ---- Truths: I am doing everything I can to ensure the safety of this child. My doctor is not aware of any issues with my baby. I can ask for additional testing to check on the baby. I can learn about how to be safe during pregnancy. I have not done anything to cause harm to my baby. I am in overall good health, and the baby is getting what they need during this time. This baby is loved, wanted, and has a family to come home to when they enter this world. This is a time of major changes for me and I am not in control like I would prefer to be. I am hormonal and uncertain about many things right now.
If you are unable to think of these truths yourself, ask a loved one to help you. They are often better at identifying our strengths than we are. I remember once I shared my anxious thoughts with my loved one they said to me, "No matter what happens, your baby will be loved by an entire family". That helped me put the fear into perspective and see the bigger picture.
Put this list to good use by practicing it. Say these things out loud to yourself. Say them to yourself when you look in the mirror, or when you're driving, or when you're feeling anxious. Rehearse them until they are memorized and then keep rehearsing them. Make it a daily practice to speak these truths out loud.
It might take a while to notice the negativity is leaving, but it will. You are creating new pathways in your brain, so it takes time.
As always, if you'd like my help putting this into practice, set up an appointment!