Fears and Phobias can trigger us into irrational fears that cause us to freeze or overreact to a circumstance, which limit us and take our freedom away.

Suppose you have a fear of snakes or spiders, and you see one, which triggers you into this completely helpless state of fear. From this place you cannot rationalize your way through because you have left your rational part of your mind through the subconscious trigger of your survival systems. Essentially, this is a panic attack of disbelief that you can confidently deal with the situation. 

There we are in the moment and triggered into full-force survival mode, and the thing that would help us the most at this moment would be to be able to step back from the trigger just enough to be able to rationally assess the situation to see if it is actually a threat, or if our mind is just perceiving danger, but in fact it is actually safe, as the spider is too far away to get close to us and we can easily walk away. When we can do this in the midst of these challenging emotions, we then have the ability to take conscious steps to choose what action, is most appropriate for the situation. If it is a real threat, then we need to take the best action to protect ourselves from harm and make ourselves safe. If it is just our mind playing tricks on us as it perceived a threat, as this thing in the moment just reminded us of a dangerous situation from the past, thinking it is really happening now, then it is very empowering to see this truth, and then be able to turn down the dial of the subconscious survival alarm to a more appropriate level.

This really is possible! All it takes is the commitment of time building the ability to remain conscious enough within an emotional reactive trigger, and practice with assessing the truth of what is really happening, and the best course of action from mindful assessment. To do this we will need to be able to reconnect to our body feelings, as our point of power is in the present, and when we are present with what we feel on a physical level with our attention, we are present. To build the muscles of awareness and mindful body connection, we simply need to do a regular Awareness Practice. 

What is an Awareness Practice, and how do we do it?

An Awareness Practice is to simply practice focusing our attention onto our breathing and body sensations. Simply pick a time each day to sit in a safe place, and focus inwards to your breathing as you follow it in and out. Feel your rib muscles expanding and contracting, and the air moving in and out of your windpipe. Expand your awareness to your head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, and legs, as you practice feeling your body as a whole bit by bit. When your attention drifts, and it will a lot, just practice bringing your attention back to your breathing and body feeling. It is important to practice this in a safe place because when you are in a real-life situation that has triggered you into fear, when you have been practicing focusing your attention into your breathing and body sensations in a SAFE place, whenever you do this practice during an emotional challenge, you are creating the association of the safe place you practice in.

First thing is to notice you are triggered. Second thing to do is your awareness practice, as you focus your attention into your breathing and body sensations. Next is to breathe in with slow and deep breaths with a full release. Then assess the situation if it is actually physically safe, and notice the level of emotional fear that you are feeling in comparison. Simply guide your attention and awareness into the feelings of uncomfortableness with full acceptance. 

Full acceptance of what you feel allows you to experience it, which through your non-resistance of it – your acceptance, this will allow the emotional energy to move through your awareness and let it go. From this place where you are not controlled by the heavy emotional feelings, you are much more able to pull yourself out of the trigger enough to assess, and make a new, and better mindful choice of what to do next. 

In time with this regular awareness practice, you will gain the ability to do all these steps during small triggers. The more you do your regular awareness practice in a safe place, the more you will be able to do this during emotional challenges. This will give your freedom back, so one day you will confront a snake, or something that previously triggered total irrational overwhelm, but now it is just a strong feeling that you are able to mindfully process through your experience, and respond in a much more mindful, and empowered way. 

Give this a go. Yes, it will take some time, commitment, and work to do the regular practice, but it will be worth its weight in gold as it gives your life back!

Have a wonderful day, 

Arne Pedersen, 

Mindfulness-based Hypnotherapist, Victoria, B.C.

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Arne Pedersen Awareness In Health • Online and In-Person Therapy specializing in support for Anxiety, Self Esteem, Confidence, Negative Thoughts, Stress Related Issues, and Spirituality

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