Jo Usmar is a wellness expert and author who offers tools, strategies, and advice on how to tackle life's challenges. In light of the new year, Jo teaches us to 'embrace the jitters' in 2020 because...
Fear opens doors. We often get caught on the same path – one that is familiar and safe but that also means we don’t experience new things or grow. ‘Fear can trick you into thinking you’re stuck,’ says Jo. ‘Stepping outside your normal routine snaps you out of autopilot. Creating change, such as going somewhere new for lunch, or thinking bigger, such as applying for a job, is invigorating; it makes you realise that you do have control over your life.’
Working through fear builds confidence. We often find that doing something that scared us wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated. ‘Fear is a part of being human, but we often overestimate the danger and underestimate our ability to cope,’ says Jo. ‘Ask yourself, what’s realistically the worst that could happen, and how you’d react if it did. Pushing through the fear once gives you the confidence to know that even if it doesn’t work out, you have the ability to handle it.’
Remember that... CREATING CHANGE IS INVIGORATING; IT MAKES YOU REALISE THAT YOU DO HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE
Fear can make you kinder to yourself. Thoughts such as, ‘I can’t cope’, or ‘This will be a disaster’ can have a ricochet effect, dictating what you then choose to do. ‘These are thoughts, not facts, and often have no basis in reality,’ says Jo. Facing your fears lets you challenge these and question whether they are really true. Have you handled anything like it before? This approach will make you see how often you beat yourself up, and force you to be fairer to yourself.
Fear can push you to succeed. Doing something new can be daunting, but you can come to enjoy your response to the fear. ‘If you trust you aren’t in actual danger, the rush of adrenaline can be thrilling,’ says Jo. ‘It’s what people mean when they say they’re “buzzing” and why they go on rollercoasters or play extreme sports. If you’re about to go on stage, for instance, the rush can give you a sense of power and accomplishment when what you’ve faced is over.’
SELF-LOVE IS YOUR ULTIMATE SUPERPOWER
Doing anything new can be daunting, so try…
FOCUSing ON A FINGERNAIL
When we’re anxious, our minds can spiral out of control. If it all becomes too much, try staring at your fingernail for five minutes. Concentrate on every little ridge or white fleck on the nail, even the semicircle of your cuticle. Focusing on something else gives your mind a break and can help to leave you refreshed to concentrate on the task at hand.
LIGHTing A CANDLE
Essential oils or scented candles can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which helps us lead happier, more balanced lives. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, schedule time out for a little aromatherapy. Try lavender, jasmine or vetiver scents, which are thought to help relieve fear and emotional stress.