Ten Ways To Bust Through Fear During The Creative Process

busting through

I ended my last blog post by quoting one of my favourite inspirational coaches :

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

I suppose, fear is a natural part of putting something you have created out into the world. Fear for me is not just anxiety. It sometimes feels uncomfortable like when you think having a mud bath will be a great idea for your skin. Then when it dries it just feels heavy, itchy and after you wash it off, your skin feels the same.

Before I even got started exploring my own creativity , my biggest fear was:

What if I put in all of this effort and nothing comes of it?  I’ll just end up in the exact same place I was before!

Let’s be honest, we are all afraid of different things so the way we approach it will differ. Also, you may have a narrower scope of fear than I do…

This is how I see the world…If it ain’t love, it’s fear.

Worry is fear of the future for us and others, anger is the armour we use to cover up fear, sadness is when the armour hasn’t worked or you forgot to put it on.  The result is fear running down your face.  

Fear, in my case, leads to anxiety or keeps me stuck on the hamster wheel of procrastination.  

I would like to state clearly, that I am not a qualified therapist, psychologist, doctor, naturopath, or a qualified mental health professional.

I am just a human being, like you, trying to navigate this world. I have made my own personal development and healing a priority and in the process have gathered a few tools that have worked for me, over the years.

If you are a person who is experiencing extreme levels of fear, anxiety or overwhelm please contact a health care professional.  Sometimes a little help goes a long way.

Tips on How I Manage fear:

1. Be with the Fear and it will pass

One way I take on fear is to observe it…I look at it without judgment. Sometimes I even thank the fear, which helps me to accept it and then I let it go. Fear is a response from my ego in the ego’s pursuit of keeping me safe. When I look at it like this, I know that there is no immediate threat. As I witness the fear, as the observer, rather than the recipient, eventually it passes.

2. Tapping/EFT (Emotional Freedom technique).

If the fear is really stuck, I find tapping to be very helpful. Tapping, also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique, uses tapping on particular acupressure points while saying setup statements based on how you are feeling.  There are so many free resources online to get you started. I usually start with a tapping meditation and then I will go start to use my own specific language relating to the issue,  or the specific fear I am facing at that moment.

3. Digging

In this technique I identify the exact belief/fear that is causing me stress. Then I use the statement;

What is the worst thing that could happen if no one likes my book, class or program? Then with my hand on my heart I answer the question. Maybe the answer will be I will feel sad. Then the next question is what’s the worst thing that could happen if I feel sad?

You basically keep going until you hit the bottom. I know I have hit the bottom when the tears start to flow.  This process helps me get to the limiting or subconscious beliefs that exist underneath any fear. The final statement can sometimes be shocking or strange. Don’t judge it, just say to yourself “I let all of these limiting beliefs go so that beliefs that serve my highest and best good may shine through”.

4. Setting Intentions

An intention is like a goal. It is what you would like to see in the future. I found that something I am working towards helps relieve me of the stress of not knowing where I am going. I may not know how I am going to get there but at least having that point to focus on, supports the reticular activating system in my brain to be on the lookout for situations or circumstances that help to reinforce the intention that I have set. 

5. Journaling

I do 2 kinds of journaling. I have one journal that I write in first thing in the morning. This sets me up for the day. The benefit of journaling first thing in the morning is that my ego hasn’t had a chance to wake up yet so the messages I get come from the river of creativity that is not influenced by the past or worry about the future.

The second journaling I do is  when fear has triggered anger, hurt or any other uneasy emotions, I write down everything I am feeling on a piece of paper. I honor that fearful negative voice, then when I feel I have purged all the dark thinking onto the page I tear it up, burn it or just throw it away.  I say to myself ‘I am ready for a new story to emerge in my life now’.

6. Create a mind map 

Something I have just started doing is creating a mind map for big task. Breaking a task into smaller more manageable pieces helps me avoid overwhelm. In the center is the goal. Then around the goal you write small attainable action steps.

Here is my mind map for November. This month I am committed to finishing the first draft of a book proposal for another book I have written.

20151118_133936 (1)
I have broken the sections of the book proposal into achievable action steps.

7. Meditate/ Breathing

Our fight or flight response is so powerful that just the thought of danger can create a physiological response. When we are experiencing a fear response in our body, It shuts down the pathway to the critical thinking part of our brain.

I find deep full breathing and focusing on my breath is a good way to shift the focus away from any fearful thoughts, towards the stillness that exists within. I always thought meditation was to help you develop a calmer approach to life. And I suppose for some it does. However, for me, in connecting with the stillness inside I have become more tapped into my creative side. Therefore, during or after meditation I get answers that serve to illuminate or give me another approach to deal with any issue or fear I am faced with.

8.Find a Supportive Tribe

We have our friends who we have had forever.   They may not be the best people to help you face your fears and keep you accountable to the bigger picture goals you may have. In my experience, friends and family sometimes like it when we stay the same, it feels more comfortable for them. I have actively looked for people who when fear comes up, they give me just enough air time to get on top of it.   The rest of the conversation will be centred on how to transform this fear into fuel.

9. Serve Others

The other morning, I started to spiral into fear. I thought, ‘I’ll call a family member for reassurance’. However, when I called they were having an issue that felt more significant than my own. After listening to them, we created some action steps they could take to resolve the issue they were having.

What this situation did was take me away from the fear, which may keep coming up but doesn’t need nor deserve so much air time. This allows me to feel good because I was able to put my small issue aside and really help someone else. Service can come in the form of volunteering, helping a friend who hasn’t asked or just lending an ear to a person who really needs someone to hold the space for them.

10. Get into Nature

We have beautiful parks in my neighbourhood with gorgeous native plants, trees and birds.  If I don’t go to the park,  I start to feel like a volcano that is ready to blow its top. When my husband isn’t working crazy hours I try and take a healing walk every day. The healing walk consists of  walking mindfully through the park ,being present to my surroundings and allowing nature’s energy to wash over me like a shower. I visualize the breeze sweeping away any negative thoughts or fears that may be hold me back or keeping me stuck.

Check out this article by my good friend Dr. Cyndi Gilbert on Japanese Forest Bathing.

Wishing You a Week of love, laughs and fearless pursuits!

Cathy

P.S. When you become more fearless something miraculous happens….So do the people around you.
P.S.S Now that I am at the end I have thought of almost 10 more things that have helped me to bust through fear. What’s your favourite fear busting technique?

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