What does fear look like?
It’s kind of a trick question, isn’t it? All you have to do is turn on the television for two seconds and you’ll feel the fear tumbling in.
And people get sucked in … Boy, do they. Ever started a conversation about a current news story? Of course, we all do it.
Because we all take sides. We all “believe” based on who we are.
We’re right. The other side is wrong. End of story.
Except … what if it isn’t?
Fear in midlife. We have a lot to be afraid of.
Any search will tell you women in midlife have a lot to be afraid of. Between 40 and 65, it seems as if the world around us is spinning a lot faster than we wish. So we worry. Fear …
- Work problems
- Family issues
- Raising children
- Reaching personal goals
And that’s not all.
Look in the mirror, and the fear compounds …
- Crows feet
- Laugh lines
- Gray hair
- A little jiggle here
- A little jiggle there
And holy crap, I just read a headline that said a “famous influencer” would eat her own CRAP if it guaranteed she’d continue to look young.
Why is fear so high in midlife?
The English language has around 3,000 words to convey emotions. Nearly two-thirds of them are based on negative emotions.
We use these words over and over again. They become a part of our daily routines.
- “I’m sad. I’m getting old.”
- “I’m angry. How could they think that?”
- “I’m irritated. She’s not listening to me.”
- “I’m afraid. Will we survive this?”
- “I’m disgusted. I’m not thin/pretty/smart/rich enough.”
What’s worse, fear isn’t just an emotion or feeling. It’s also a form of energy. It’s a vibration that stays at our core frequency.
It builds and grows until it reaches a saturation point. No amount of energy can be contained forever. At some point, it needs an outlet. If you don’t release outward, it builds and festers inward, expressing itself as struggle and pain.
And that’s when it really has you.
When you’re afraid/angry/irritated, every muscle and tendon in your body knows it. They can tighten to the point of pain and inflammation. They impact in big ways.
Ever complained of being tired? Yet when you try to sleep, you’re met with insomnia? That’s fear talking.
Fear makes our bodies, minds, and energy contract. It’s a natural response to the stressors we place on ourselves. It’s designed to keep us out of danger. Even minor fear can grow into something big.
The more we let it fester, the greater potential we have of falling into disease.
Or maybe it’s dis-ease.
Fear just needs a plan
Fear is driven by the unknown. If you haven’t experienced something before, you venture into the great unknown. And that can be a scary place to be.
Kids love it. A baby thrives on curiosity. A child refuses to take no for an answer. An inquisitive teenager may experiment with all kinds of new activities. A go-getting 20-something can’t wait to get life started on their terms.
But 40 to 65 year olds have a different approach.
We have so much …
We have so much to lose …
And that’s what separates us from our 1, 5, 13, and 21 year old selves. With little behind us, we can’t wait to explore.
But once we’ve added checkmarks to our life plans, it gets a little scarier.
Of course, you could start a new career. But can you really afford a pay cut now?
You could sell your house and say goodbye to your old lifestyle. But isn’t that lifestyle super comfy?
Fear and complacency are intertwined.
Fear. But …
When you experience any type of fear, it’s usually accompanied by a “but.”
I could look for a new job. But ….
I could let go of a friend who really gets on my nerves. But …
Want to get rid of fear? Start with a new question. Create a plan.
Instead of “I could look for a new job,” change it around to “What would happen if I looked for a new job, one better suited for who I am today?”
Suddenly, the world opens up, and you look at things differently.
It allows you to write down ideas.
What would happen if I looked for a new job, one better suited for who I am today?
- I could follow this dream I’ve had for years.
- I could go back to school because I’ve always wanted to …
- Maybe I could work from home.
- Or I could start a business.
Each of these makes you look at life differently. And that’s your starting point.
Letting go of fear
You can feel fear. It’s so ingrained in who we are these days, it changes everything about the way you feel.
It lives there. You breathe it. You feel your heart race. It starts shutting you down.
We let it grow and take over our lives.
But we can just as easily walk away.
I have a four-step process I use when I feel overwhelming fear coming on.
Recognize it. Pay attention to what you’re feeling and where it’s coming. It’s impacting your energy, and past circumstances may dictate how you approach these situations. Recognizing your behavior is a big part of the process. If you recognize it, you can change it. So recognize it. Write down the circumstances. Write down how you feel.
Get in tune with your body
Fear is energy. And different levels of fear impact your body in different ways. When you feel it rising, you can start analyzing the details. I often get more stressed when I’m hungry, or if I haven’t created a list. When I start to feel fear, I take a step back. I grab a snack and start writing down my to-do list. Those two tasks are often all it takes to calm down.
Think of the outcomes
Some fears can be overcome with planning – my to-do list is a great tool to slow down my fears. But a fear like “I’m too old for this” often doesn’t have such rational fixes. This is where connecting with my inner, true self works like a charm. Self-care, my friend. The happier I am with me, the more likely I am to be able to turn any fear-based situation and work through it. If I say something like “I’m too old for this,” I turn it around and say “Am I really?”
Connecting with life in the moment pushes aside the world around you. It allows you to be more in touch with what matters most.
None of this is an easy process. And I’ll admit, it’s easy to step back into fear at times.
But I have found so much of my life is now at peace because I practice this every single day. I can get back to a place of well-being, and push fear aside better now than I ever have in my life.
Because fear is simply a dive into the unknown.
We’re all energy. We feed that energy with what we allow in our lives.
If you learn simple tricks to step outside of fear, you’ll feel more at peace every step of the way. And awaken the part of you that’s ready to take on the world, and enjoy it every step of the way.