It’s almost 2020! A New Year means new changes, intention, and ways we plan to improve our life. New goals to set, new dreams to pursue, and new ways to heal from our painful pasts. Making changes (even super good ones we really want) can cause fear—and that’s where these coping skills come in!
This blog isn’t about general coping skills for any stressful situation. It’s focused on handling the fear that comes up when we go after our dreams.
So, to prevent you from giving up on your New Year goals by February, read on. (If you’re making changes mid-year, read on too!)
1st Type of Coping Skills: Mindset Shifts
I’m not going to tell you that invalidating idea of “change your thoughts and change your life.” I instead want to empower you with these new perspectives about the fears you may have as you move forward.
Our minds are powerful, after all.
Even if we can’t totally change our lives with our minds, we can make a huge impact towards how we feel about our life.
Mindset #1: Your Best is Enough
Improvement matters more than perfection. If you try to improve your life or help others and it doesn’t work out all that well, still celebrate the fact you tried.
Attempting to better yourself or the world is a beautiful thing. It counts for so much more than “getting it right from the start.”
You’ll learn more over time. You’ll be able to see things in new ways. This will increase your chance of success. But, right now, as long as you try your best, you’re taking the most amazing and important step towards a better life.
(Trying your best does not mean giving more than 100%, by the way! 100% is plenty enough. Take care of yourself!)
The next time you feel you didn’t do well enough at something, remind yourself of this. “How I improve from this will help me and the world far more than getting things right in the first try. I did my best and that’s a beautiful thing. I did well enough.”
Mindset #2: See Fear as a Protector
Fear is important for our survival. Without it, we couldn’t have gotten through abuse, escaped, or even handled less traumatic challenges in life. Fear’s job is to protect us and warn us when something might cause us harm.
But, fear is sometimes overwhelming when we have PTSD or anxiety. It comes up even when there isn’t anything we truly need protecting from.
Even here, your fear isn’t bad. It’s still trying to protect you from something it thinks is a threat.
So, respect your fear and acknowledge it’s trying to help, then ask it to leave. A simple “I hear you, fear. Thank you for trying to protect me, but I’m okay. I can do this on my own” should help.
The fear may not totally disappear, but you should feel it move to the background a little bit. This will give you more freedom and energy to take the actions you wish to.
P.S. If fear is keeping you stuck and making it harder to improve your life, join The Prosperity Path program here. It’ll give you that gentle but powerful push you need to go after your dreams.
2nd Type of Coping Skill: Value-based Choices
There’s one way to ensure you make choices that are best for you and the world around you. It’s by understanding what your greatest values are and making decisions based on those.
Basically, uncover your core values, then use them to guide major decisions. Here’s a blog that describes exactly how to do this.
This will give you the confidence to go after your dreams.
3rd Type of Coping Skills: Reducing Fear Quickly
This section is a list of coping skills to help you quickly reduce panic, anxiety, or fear. After all, no matter how many mindset changes you make or how aligned you are to your values…you’re going to be nervous right before you actually make a change.
These techniques will tame that in-the-moment nervousness.
Calming technique #1: Abdominal Pressure
There’s a cluster of nerves right in the middle of your abdomen, between your bellybutton and the bottom of your ribs. It will calm your nervous system if you apply pressure to this area.
It’s basically a biological hack to anxiety. And simply bending over will put adequate pressure on this point.
You can do this by standing and bending towards your toes, sitting and bending towards them, or even curling into a ball (though I’ve found this one a little less effective, but it still helps).
If you can take some deep breaths, this can increase the pressure and calm you faster.
You can also use a 5-10lb sandbag or weighted blanket while lying down to put pressure on this point too, if bending over is unpleasant or impossible for you.
Calming technique #2: Deep Breathing
Deep breathing can calm us because, if done right, it also compresses the solar plexus nerves. It’s all by breathing into our bellies, then contracting, like bringing our bellybutton towards our spine. This compression works like bending over, but you can do it anywhere.
Counting your breaths can also help distract your mind and prevent hyperventilation, two things common with fear and anxiety.
Calming Technique #3: Grounding Scents
Pick an essential oil or perfume you enjoy the smell of and dab some (diluted if needed) under your nose or on your wrists. Take a deep breath and focus on the smell. If the scent is on your wrists, lift them near your nose as you breathe.
Scents themselves can be calming if they are pleasant. They also work as a grounding technique by bringing you out of your head and into your body—by paying attention to one of your five senses.
Calming Technique #4: Touch Stones
A touch stone is a small object you rub in your hand when you’re stressed. It’s traditionally a stone, but it can honestly be anything small you can fit in a pocket.
The object itself can become a comfort item. It can also help you stay grounded by focusing on the sense of touch.
Notice the texture of your item. The shape. The temperature. Try to create a mental map of it by feeling it. This focus can calm anxiety.
You’ve gotten out of your head and away from the anxious thoughts, and into the present moment. As you continue this practice, the item may become calming with even a quick touch, too.
How to Use These Coping Skills When You Go After Your Dreams
You can choose to use or not use these coping skills. You empower yourself by using them when approaching your dreams—especially when the decisions may be a bit frightening.
Take a moment and choose one of these techniques you’ll use any time you feel afraid this week, especially when you’re doing something that’ll improve your life. Share which one you’ll use in a comment below!
If you need even more coping skill ideas, check out these blogs too:
Or join The Prosperity Path program here for a clear guide on how to live the life you of your dreams (and overcome any fear that might try to stop you).
And keep an eye out for next week’s blog on stopping and preventing panic attacks!