Fear is a response to an ‘actual’ threat, which could be emotional, mental or physical. As a response, our bodies and brains react. For example, running while being chased by a dog, fear of talking to the police after you break the signal, fear of failing an exam because you answered questions incorrectly or fear of being fired because of poor performance at work.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling that arises due a ‘perceived’ threat. These threats are not real and are a result of certain triggers. Each time one of your triggers are pressed, you react in different ways. For example, walking into a room full of colleagues who suddenly stop talking as you enter, you may think that they were talking about you, and in most likelihood, NEGATIVELY!
Samira Gupta, life coach and image consultant says while fear can be a positive emotion, as it gives you the opportunity to face situations you not confident about and eventually overcome them. “Anxiety affects the mental and emotional well-being. It triggers emotions, over-thinking, self-sabotaging and sometimes over-reacting. Hence, it’s important to address it,” says the coach and suggests three effective methods of overcoming both, fear and anxiety.
One of the most common pattern observed in people is negligence of their own emotions, feelings and needs. The first step to manage or overcome anxiety is to identify and acknowledge the feeling that is created. Start by asking yourself a question, what is the feeling created when you think about your colleagues talking behind your back? Once you have the answer, list it on a paper. When you do this exercise regularly, you will begin to notice a pattern and understand what exactly is the underlying message that your anxiety is giving you. In the case of this example, it could be working on your self-confidence or self-esteem.
The second step is to accept the emotion/ trigger. Staying in a zone of denial is not going to help. Even if you do not agree with the result, start working on the areas you have identified.
If you think you are confident however notice a pattern of questioning your worth or self-sabotaging thoughts, begin working on building your confidence levels. Seek help from a professional if required. If this truly was your area of improvement, you will start to see positive results. If not, continue your search. Identify your patterns, list them and work towards them.
It’s time to take action! Watch youtube videos, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, reach out to a mentor and take that first step. If you are worried about your colleagues talking about you behind your back, go talk to them politely but assertively. It is possible that, it’s a story created in your head and not the reality. If you still have doubts, set clear boundaries and have a clear conversation.
“Life is too short to spend with fear in our hearts and anxiety in our minds. Go out there, expose yourself to different experiences, focus on self-improvement, learn new skills and grow,” says Samira.
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