I have issues with worrying about everything. I over-analyze and over-think every situation, and it drives my family crazy. I am seriously scared of all the bad things that can happen and experience anxiety all the time. I also worry too much about what other people think of us. I need to stop worrying, but I just can’t stop the noise in my head. Any advice?
I think it is safe to say you are addicted to fear.
A fear-a-holic is someone who is addicted to the experience of fear and anxiety such that it decreases their ability to function and negatively affects their relationships.
I recognize the symptoms because I used to be one, too.
Now, I have learned to use some specific principles of truth to change my thinking and choose the opposite of fear in every situation. The opposite or antithesis state of fear is the state of trust and love.
When you choose to be in a state of trust and love, you literally can't experience fear. The emotions can't exist at the same time, in the same place. I call the state of trust and love "clarity," because it is the only state where the fog of fear is out of the way, so you can see your life as it really is.
Most fear-based thoughts can be completely wiped out with a simple choice to trust God and focus on loving people in that moment. But you can also employ the principles used by Alcoholics Anonymous, which apply to overcoming any type of addiction.
Here are 12 steps to break an addiction to fear:
1) Admit you are powerless when dwelling in fear. Fear makes you feel weak, vulnerable, selfish and protective, and these emotions don't serve you.
2) Admit you need a power greater than you to help. Choose to acknowledge that trusting God, his safety and his love are the answer. They are the only way to real security and peace.
3) Commit to turn your life and will over to a higher power. This means you will choose to trust God about two important things that will eliminate your two core fears (the fear of failure and the fear of loss) that most often steal your peace.
5) Admit that you are ready to let a higher power help you. You cannot feel safe and peaceful, nor eliminate fear on your own. You must trust God to be in charge of your journey and your value.
6) Let God remove your defects. We all have faults, weakness and less-than-perfect features, but they do not affect our value. God knows that these defects serve you in your process of growth. They also make you more compassionate and less judgmental. Turn these defects over to him and don’t let them make you feel inadequate anymore.
7) Ask God to remove your shortcomings. Accept his forgiveness for all your past mistakes. You experience too much fear, guilt and shame around the fact that you weren’t perfect in the past. Let God erase them all, and he will. You have nothing to fear. God gives this gift so you can focus on loving him, yourself and other people instead.
8) Make a list of people you have hurt by being afraid (and, therefore, selfish). Fear kept you focused on yourself, and in this state you missed what the people around you needed. Make a list of all the people you might have neglected while focused on your fears.
9) Make direct amends to those you hurt. How can you choose love over fear and start showing up for these people? How has fear caused conflicts and contention in your relationships? Figure out what you were afraid of and apologize for letting your fear create bad behavior.
10) Continue to take a personal inventory daily and admit when you let fear steal your peace. Start writing your fears on paper. This will show you how ridiculous most of them are. This will also show you the real reason you feel angry, stressed, resentful or discouraged. Write down how you could choose trust and love in each situation.
11) Through prayer and meditation, connect to God more often. Prayer is a wonderful way to officially place your concerns and worries in his hands, so you can trust him.
12) Share what you are learning. You learn a ton from teaching these principles of truth. (That’s how I quit living in fear.) Look for opportunities to teach trust and love to others.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.