F.E.A.R.

Once again, I got pulled into fear. My mother-in-law was going to have surgery. Knowing how some of my friends reacted when they had the same type of surgery, I began to worry. A few family members also expressed their concern. Over time, a few of us were in a full-on fear frenzy. I could feel the fear, worry, and concern mounting in me and others. Unfortunately, at the time I was not able to gain any perspective. After the surgery, when everything turned out fine, I remembered that FEAR is really an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.

False Evidence:  The worry I had before the surgery was all conjecture. Yes, my friends had had struggles with the surgery, but I had no concrete proof that my mother-in-law would have the same issues. My worry was based on false evidence. I took a few small facts and the experiences of others, and my mind began to blow them out of proportion. How often have you taken something out of context and make it into a mental reality? When have you made a mountain out of a mole hill?  Our minds are programmed to look for danger so we can keep ourselves and those we love safe. Unfortunately, our minds often work overtime creating problems where there are not any. In the desire to remain safe, we create stories of what we need to keep ourselves safe even if our fears are not true or inevitable.  

Appearing Real:  I took my thoughts and mental stories as fact. The more I replayed the story in my mind, the more it made me think it was a forgone reality. I created the story. I was the one who replayed it. I was the one through repetition who started to believe my own lies.

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Enough things in this world exist to worry about, we don’t need to create more. Here are a few ways to stay out of the slippery slope of F.E.A.R.:

Just the Facts, Ma’am:  Don’t create false news. Look at the reality of the situation. Look at what you know as a hard, cold fact not what you fear may happen. Stick to the facts and the reality of the situation not your perception or embellishment.

No Instant Replay: The pain of fear happens in us replaying our fears again and again. Something has not happened, yet we are experiencing it again and again and again by our replaying the potentially negative situation in our minds. Stay out of your mind and stick to the reality of this moment.

Address in the Truth: The time to take action is when something actually occurs. Stop acting on “what-ifs.” It is ok to be prepared for the bad, like stocking up on hurricane supplies, but if you barricade yourself in your house before a storm is officially announced, what good does that do?  

What fears are currently plaguing you? Are they true, eminent, real concerns or the story you made up of what could happen? Are you replaying your story again and again until you are terrified? Are you acting on your fear instead of the reality of the moment? 

Is Worry Holding You Down?

My husband and I love the Baja Peninsula visiting it frequently over the past few years. On September 14, 2014, Hurricane Odile hit. With no phone or internet service it was days and in one case a week before we heard from our friends who live there. Without communication, I became obsessed with any reports I could get from the area. I looked at photos of damage. I worried about the lack of food, water, and electricity. I concerned over my friends safety as desperation looting began. That week I was also hit with a massive cold.

Mike and Tori's House after Hurricane Odile
Mike and Tori’s House after Hurricane Odile

You see worry was holding me down. Every time I wondered where they were and if they were safe, it hit my immune system. Every time I looked at a report with the damage, it brought down my positive attitude. The result is my feeling poorly physically and mentally. The entire week I was out of sorts and unproductive. And most importantly, this attitude did nothing for my friends.

A better choice in this situation would have been every time the hurricane and my friends came to mind, to take a moment and surround them with love and protection. Instead of thoughts of what if and worst case scenario, I could have imagined them safe. These thoughts would have kept me centered and in a space to look for ways to support my friends as well as maintaining my normal weekly necessities. The positive energy being sent through the airwaves would have also positively affected all those in the wake of the hurricane.

As you go through your day, where are you experiencing worry? Instead of dragging yourself into the negative, what happens if you stop to take a moment to surround all those involved with love and hope? How does it change your mood? How does it change your outlook? How does it change how you address and handle the difficult situation?

If you would like to help those recovering from the hurricane, here are a few sources.

Cabo Relief Fund

Feeding Los Cabos Kids

Water Filter Distribution

Los Cabos Humane Society

Melissa Heisler

“From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction” Helps Improve Health and Provide Tools for Surviving a Challenging Job

New book is a powerful framework for reducing stress, improving well-being, increasing mental clarity, dealing with difficult people and facing challenging workplaces

CHICAGO (May 14, 2014) – After 10 years in the world of theater followed by nearly 20 years in senior corporate marketing positions, the stress of deadline-driven jobs led to author and speaker Melissa Heisler’s own mental and physical ill health. A trip to Peru awakened her to an understanding there was no outside reason for her pain – she was causing the pain she experienced. This awakening is not the end of her story but the beginning of her search for long-lasting means to manage the stress in her life. This journey is the foundation for her new book “From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction.”

This no-nonsense, practical book provides a customizable framework to help readers reduce the level of their current stress and limit the amount of future stress. Heisler believes stress does not need to be part of human lives and she aims to help readers learn how to reduce its impact using tools including the Type-ME Habits of Awareness, Acceptance, Alternatives and Action.

“The American Psychological Association has reported that 77% of adults in the United States population are regularly experiencing physical symptoms due to stress. There is an enormous need to make significant changes to the level of stress experienced on a daily basis to improve not only physical health, but the quality of relationships, work and life in general,” said Heisler. “Through my own experience and those of my clients I know this stress can be reduced by empowering readers to change their lives through daily applications of the tools presented in my book.”

Heisler has launched a crowd-funding campaign to support editing, designing, producing and publishing the final manuscript. Of the total funds raised, 10% will be donated to the Pubslush Foundation for Literacy. The funding budget for this project has been fixed at $10,000.

To learn more, visit the “From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction” Project Page: http://ww.BeTypeME.com  

 

ABOUT MELISSA HEISLER

Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, speaker, author, and show host. She speaks to groups including Fortune 10 companies on stress reduction and the myth of work-life balance. Heisler hosts The Empowerment Show with guest experts in health, business, career, spirituality, and women’s issues. She is a contributing author for the books, “Be There Now: Travel Stories From Around the World” and “Defining Moments: A Gathering of Women’s Journeys.” Her first solo book, “From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction” and her contribution to “Experiences of the Light” (Career Press / New Page Books) will both be published in 2014.

“Smart, loving, and clear-sighted, Melissa is just the coach to help you repair your own life and soul, so that you can help others without burning out.” – Martha Beck (Bestselling author of 6 books, columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine, and named one of the best known life coaches in America” by NPR, USA Today, and Psychology Today.)

Fear

I like to think I am fearless, and in many ways I am. But in some ways I am not. One of the most noticeable ways is in regards to my business. I fear not having enough income to pay my bills. I fear I will not be able to make the business what I want it to be. I fear that I made a mistake making my passion and purpose my business. The problem is when I listen to my fears and believe them I make bad choices. If I believe I won’t have sufficient income, I feel it is hopeless therefore I am unmotivated to attract new clients or attend networking events. If I fear my business won’t be what I want it to be, I am constantly looking for proof of this and pull myself into a depression. If I fear my purpose is not meant to be my business, I am constantly distracted by other potential ways to bring in money. My fears then become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Yet fears in themselves are NOT reality. Fears are only real if we believe them and act as if they are already fulfilled. The answer is to see fears as beliefs and not reality. Fears are expectations we move and act upon because we believe them to be our fate. Our fearful beliefs and expectations are only thoughts. The simple and difficult way to move forward fearlessly in our lives is to release our negative beliefs and expectations.

PanamaRecently I was able to do just this on our trip to Panama. I had a fear of returning our rental car late. I feared my unexercised winter legs would not make it to the top of Cerro Ancón. I had a fear I could not stay afloat in the ocean. One by one I released these thoughts and amazingly found the power to move forward. In doing so, I also found new options and opportunities which had been blocked by my focus on fear.

One of the biggest fears this Recovering Type-A released, even before we left for our trip, was not having all of our hotels booked ahead of time. We were leaving for a country we never visited before where we did not speak the local language fluently and were going into cities we could find little information about. I released the fear we would be sleeping in our rental car and trusted. Had I not let go of the fear, my Type-A would have taken over and booked a hotel in Las Tables where I thought I wanted to go. As it turns out it is a really neat town – for a few hours. Had I booked two nights there it would have been less than desirable. In letting go however, things turned out better than I could have ever planned. Between the recommendation from the proprietor of our first hotel, La Estancia, and the assistance of a LinkedIn buddy from Try Panama, we stayed at a secluded beachfront hotel and a posh resort which were both available and within our budget. There was no hassle or any real effort on my husband’s or my part. We just needed to make our needs known and accept the great gifts given to us.

PanamaThis experience helped me see and release the other fears which came up on our trip. I knew and trusted that releasing my fears allowed new, better, brilliant opportunities to arrive.

What are your current fears?

Do you have fears around paying bills? Around your or your loved ones heath? Do you have fears about some seemingly unattainable future goal? Look at the fear. Is there any substantial proof it will absolutely 100% occur as you fear? If not, let it go. Then feel the pressure and anxiety lift as you release what is not fated to be. Feel your power return. Feel your joy. Then keep your mind clear and take baby step after baby step toward what you want. You will be amazed by what happens – for the better – and without any major planning or substantial effort of your own.

Melissa Heisler

Hiding Not Seeking

Caffeine has always been my constant companion. In my younger years, caffeine came in the form of Mountain Dew. When I entered the workforce, my caffeine delivery system became coffee. As energy drinks entered the marketplace, Monster became my drink of choice. The thing is, caffeine is not good for me. I have known for a while and recently had a doctor prove it. And yet, I didn’t stop putting caffeine in my system.

Have you ever had a habit you wanted to break but didn’t have the motivation to do so? Or if you could break it, the habit would come back? The problem may not be willpower. The problem may be that you are treating the symptom not the cause.

Melissa Heisler
Melissa Heisler

When I was drinking coffee, I didn’t like the taste of every cup and I hated how it discolored my teeth. Yet I would drink cup after cup. If I had a Monster or two, I would have the shakes and couldn’t concentrate. Yet I would have more the next day. When we digest things which are not good for us, we actually experience a high. The high is created when our bodies rally the troops to fight the unwanted guest. As adrenaline attacks the invader, we experience a seemingly pleasurable high from something that is actually not good for our system.

But knowing all this did not give me the power to remove caffeine from my diet. This is because I did not drink it to get the high per se. I was using the high to hide my pain, discomfort, and negative emotions. If I was in a good mood, I didn’t need coffee. If there was troubling me, I longed for caffeine and could think of nothing else. When I was caught up in the high of caffeine, I could ignore what was bothering me. Caffeine is my Band-Aid, my mask. This addiction distracts me from those things I don’t want to face. But you know what? The things I didn’t want to face are still there after every cup.

Next time you reach for your mask of choice whether it is coffee, chocolate, potato chips, or a marathon of CSI, stop. Put down your addiction and wait. See what emotion, fear, anxiety, or worry washes over you. Then work through that discomfort. By going through the discomfort you can remove it once and for all. And in doing so, you can also release your addiction.

Melissa Heisler

Empowering You to Empower Yourself – Melissa Heisler

Empowerment means the power of choice. Empowerment is about courage. It is the belief that we are in control of our experience. Empowerment is not about labeling good or bad, but about actively choosing what makes us happy in each and every moment. The journey to empowerment and great health is not linear and there is no quick fix. The journey is cyclical. There is a progression. We make a commitment, we make progress, we overcome new challenges, and we repeat. Each time, we move inch by inch to a better and better life. Our purpose is to experience the good, the bad and the ugly. Each challenge is an opportunity to go deeper.  Challenges are not setbacks but new lessons to help us expand and grow.

After years of my own physical and emotional health issues, I finally found relief through a mystical trip to Peru, but Shamanism was not the answer to a joyful healthy life. The answer is that I – You – We all have great health available to us right now. We have the power to uncover and embrace this health – mentally, physically, and emotionally. To uncover our health, we first need to accept that we are not broken. Yes, we may not be feeling our best, but we are not broken, diseased, or a victim of circumstances.

Melissa Heisler
Melissa Heisler

So much of our culture is focused on disease – having it, preventing it, suffering from it. Because of this, we see ourselves as broken, imperfect, and hopeless. In fact, we are not broken or hopeless.  We are simply out of alignment.  Beliefs, thoughts, perspectives, and actions are blocking us from our perfect health. The process of healing is to rediscover our health. Health is about making choice after choice to get us closer to alignment and what truly makes us feel good.

I am a recovering Type-A and am passionate about helping others release their stress, uncover perfect health, and embrace a more joyful life. We are all survivors in one way or another. Through our survival we are given tools to help, support, and comfort others. When we know we are not alone, it gives us the courage to make changes in our life.  We all have a powerful message. Through our stories we empower.

Learn how you can help share Melissa’s story and reduce the amount of stress in the world. 

Listen to this engaging episode to learn the impetus of The Empowerment Show and Melissa’s mission to help empower individuals to empower themselves and others. Big thanks to Jennifer Welker as she takes the guest host role so I can take the hot seat and share more of my journey and beliefs.