January 20, 2021

Navigating Fear: Tools for Trauma and Beyond

Those with a history of relational trauma can be prone to higher and more severe reactions to fear. If this is the case for you, these four tools will help you cope when fear triggers your trauma.

By Annie Wright|Adulting, Anxiety

Fear, whether immediate or imagined, real or perceived, is a powerful force that can grip our minds and bodies, inducing panic, freezing, shaking, and even tears. While fear is a universal experience, its impact can vary significantly among individuals, particularly those with relational trauma histories. For these individuals, fear reactions can be disproportionately higher and more severe, as past traumatic experiences warp their perception of the present. In this exploration of fear and trauma, we offer four valuable tools to navigate and mitigate the impact of fear triggers.

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1. Open Up to a Grounded Support System:

Acknowledging fear and seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a smart and strategic move. Connect with someone close to you, be it a therapist, spouse, friend, pastor, or yoga teacher – someone whose own nervous system is grounded and regulated. Sharing your fears with a supportive individual provides perspective, offering a more accurate view of the situation. By accessing others in your life who can help regulate your emotions, you strengthen your ability to face fear with resilience.

2. Movement, Energy Discharge, and Heat for Body Soothing:

When fear takes hold, practicing physical movements and energy release can be remarkably effective. Engage in deep, shallow breaths and allow yourself to release pent-up energy through activities like tears, screaming, or pacing. Following this discharge, focus on soothing and warming your body. Adjust the temperature in your environment, put on additional layers, and indulge in comforting rituals. The application of heat contributes to the regulation of your nervous system, promoting a sense of calm and control.

3. Worst-Case Scenario Cognitive Exercise:

Fear often manifests in catastrophic thinking, where the worst-case scenario dominates our thoughts. Counteract this tendency by challenging the validity of these fears. Take, for instance, the fear of job loss. List the action steps required for the worst-case scenario to unfold, and critically evaluate the likelihood of each step occurring. In most cases, this exercise reveals that the catastrophic outcome is improbable, offering a cognitive perspective shift to ease fear.

4. Take Strategic Action:

Facing fear head-on through actionable steps is a potent approach for many. Rather than succumbing to anxiety, seek ways to remedy the situations causing fear. For instance, if concerned about a child’s lab work, obtain a second opinion and request additional tests. If fearing repercussions at work, address concerns directly with your boss, asking for a performance improvement plan and regular progress meetings. Actionable steps provide a tangible and empowering way to confront and alleviate fear.

In Closing…

As we conclude this discussion, it’s essential to remember that even when fear feels all-encompassing, you have overcome challenging times before. Remind yourself of your resilience and the ability to survive even the darkest days. If additional support is needed, consider reaching out for a complimentary consult call. Our team is here to provide assistance, matching you with the best therapist for your situation.

Medical Disclaimer: It’s crucial to recognize that the information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have concerns about your mental health, consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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