Have you sold your tickets to a concert or decided against going to a sporting event that attracts a large crowd?
Have you cancelled a restaurant booking in your town centre over the last few weeks?
In light of the recent shocking events I wanted to look at the effect of these acts of terror on the population in general and how we can deal with this new fear in our lives.
It's worth remembering that fear is a good thing, fear moves you away from things that are bad for you.......it has an important role to play in our lives in helping to protect us and stay safe.
Feeling safe is a basic human need and whatever the dangers of the place where we live, we adjust and take sensible precautions.
So, when recent events such as those in Manchester and London occur, it is natural that we respond in some way to protect ourselves. What is not beneficial to us however, is reliving bad things over and over again and allowing fear to creep in to our thinking for lengthy periods of time or at inappropriate times. If doing something makes you have fear, doing it over and over again will only reinforce that fear. This is where the media has an influence.......violence, unrest and the threat of disaster creates more news than contented people living their daily life. Therefore we are bombarded with pictures and analysis of these incidents over and over again. And the more we see it, the more we think it…..and the more we think it, the more we worry about what may be next.
The original incident is real, but the fear translates that incident in to what could happen next......TO US. Our thoughts do the rest and can magnify the real incident in to something that isn't real, hasn't happened and makes us even more scared than the real thing.
One thing you shouldn't be afraid of is your own thoughts, these are your choice and you wouldn't want to scare yourself, would you?
When you think things that scare you, it's important to think differently. If you change the way you think, you change the way you feel, and that will change what you do. When I work with clients' fears I will go through a number of different visualisation techniques that alter the images we create in our imagination, as these images are the triggers for the behaviour we exhibit, whether fear or anxiety.
If we have more pleasing images in our mind, then we will create better feelings within us. A simple reframing can be just as effective though, by changing the perspective of our thoughts, we can dramatically alter their effect. For instance, if we consider the recent shocking and tragic terrorist attacks here in the UK, it is easy to let the fear take over and prevent us from going to a concert again, or maybe going out to public restaurants in town.......or going in to town at all.......or maybe even going out ANYWHERE!
It's very easy for our fears to escalate that quickly and soon enough we are scared to go out anywhere! This is the same train of thought that prevents many people from boarding a plane when in fact it's one of the safest methods of travel. You have more than twice as much chance of winning the lottery jackpot than being killed in a plane crash (1 in 14 million as opposed to 1 in 30 million!) yet how many people won't board an airplane?!
At a time of heightened security.....and general awareness, it was probably the safest time of all to be going in to London. How many people made the decision to avoid it though?
If your child is scared of dogs, you tell them to stand still rather than run away and encourage a dog to chase them. Running away from our fears, whatever they may be, will not make them better, it will only encourage them.
So, perhaps now is the time to concentrate on the good things in your life, focus on the thoughts that create positive emotions in you. We live in a world in which the huge majority are like-minded people who want to live in peace and harmony, even though it often feels like we are bombarded with negative messages and negative images through a variety of media channels. Have faith in your fellow human beings. Confront that fear, and reject it for something far more beneficial and enriching………..for love, for harmony, for happiness.