How to Handle a Fear Overload in Your Life

Posted February 20, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five


Fear is a tricky little guy. He sneaks his way through our system’s security check points, disguises himself as logic, and pretends to play it cool, when he’s really throwing our dreams out the back window. Are you letting fear take the controls in your life? If you’re not sure what a fear-overload situation looks like, here are a few examples:

  • Laura became okay with playing small at work. She hid her gifts and genius behind stress and busyness. Every time her boss challenges her to stand up for herself and her values, she shuts down. After she made one mistake that cost the company a client, she’s struggled to be her best at the office.
  • As soon as her relationships start to flourish, Beth finds a way to sabotage them. It’s as if her heart knows to close off as soon as she starts to feel vulnerable in love. She hasn’t been in a relationship for longer than 9 months, because she always finds a way to end it or drive the guys away before things go any deeper.
  • Carrie lives a great life. She is happy and successful, but not entirely healthy. In fact, she’s held onto the 40 pounds she gained in college for the past 10 years. She wants to run a marathon before she’s 35, but doesn’t want to sign up until she’s lost the weight. Each year registration closes without Carrie making it, and each year she puts off her goal for a little longer.

What’s one way you’ve let fear take over you life?

How long are you going to let it run the show?

Fear is not bad. It can protect you from being hurt. It can motivate you. But when it controls your life, it begins to steer you in a direction away from who you are and what you want. The really scary part: living in fear begins to feel normal, and we accept it as a way of life. And pretty soon you become a secondary character in your own life. Your zeal for life fades, your dreams become stale, and you wither a bit on the inside.

Luckily, fear has a kryptonite… love. The two cannot coexist together. You are either living with one or the other. And each day you wake up and get a choice: fear or love. Because your conscious mind can only hold one though at a time, it’s up to you to decide. If you want to stop fear in its tracks from taking over your happiness, use the 3:1:1 system. Once you’ve recognized that fear is the culprit, follow up with:

3 Questions:

  1. What am I really afraid of?
  2. How is this fear helping or hurting me?
  3. Am I being who I want to be in this moment?

1 Big Choice:  Fear or Love

If you need to be afraid for a while, that’s okay, be fearful. Just make a conscious choice to be with fear until it moves on. This releases fear’s grip on you, and gives you back your power. It can be incredibly enlightening to step into fear sometimes, as long as you stay present.

1 Minute – experiencing your choice

If you choose fear – sit with it for a full minute. Let it run its course, let the worst case scenario come to mind. Think all the fearful thoughts that are clouding your mind. Feel all the panic or pain. (We often postpone fully diving into our fear, because it can be so unpleasant. By letting it flow, you weaken some of its energy).

If you choose love – experience it for a full minute. Let all the things you enjoy come to mind. Think of the people you appreciate. Allow gratitude to fill you up as you count your blessings. Align yourself with all the goodness in your life. (Love builds upon itself, so once you unleash its power, it will strengthen).

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.