Facing ‘IT’

Do you feel an overwhelming paralysis by a decision you have to make?

Do you ignore things in the hope they will just disappear?

Do you feel like you’re hiding from the world?

For any of you that recently saw the new movie adaptation of Steven King’s book ‘IT’ you would have well and truly experienced that powerful emotion that we call fear.

What made this movie so gripping is the way it reminds us of what happens when we don’t face our fears. Pennywise the clown lured his victims to their doom by honing in on their fears. Pennywise is the manifestation of fear. By avoiding what we need to face things often become much more scary than they often need to be.

What is fear?

Fear is a natural response to the threat of danger. Adrenaline and cortisol are released into body so that we can survive a life-threatening situation. The curious thing about fear is the way that it has adapted to modern our lifestyle. For our Stone Age ancestors fear helped them survive the threat of being eaten by a sabre toothed tiger. Today, fear is much more psychological. We fear change, we fear rejection, we fear success, and we fear not being good enough.

How to get rid of our fears?

In the movie, the characters soon realise that the only way to overcome Pennywise is to face him. When we can look fear in the eyes we take back control of our lives.

How to face your fears?

The first step in facing your fear is to step back from the situation and identify your fear. It’s important to name what exactly you are anxious about.

The next step once you have identified your fear is to ask yourself if your fear is rational or irrational. Genuine fear is when our lives are at risk but worrying about what your boss thinks of you or your success in an exam is really an irrational fear causing you unnecessary anxiety.

The third step is to challenge fear head on. Remember that fear is a natural human instinct and we all have fears. But we always have a choice. We can keep running and allow our fears to control us or we can take charge of our lives. It takes courage to face our fears.

When we finally decide to face our fear head it’s important to go easy. Step up slowly and face the challenge. If you’re afraid of public speaking then offering to do a TED talk in front of an audience of thousands may not be the best place to face that fear. Instead, start with a voice coach. Get comfortable with how your voice sounds and learn a few breathing techniques. Then join your local chapter of Toastmasters and after a while you’ll be ready to face the TED talk. The idea is to increase your exposure until you feel you have overcome your fear.

The take home message from the movie ‘IT’ is that we cannot out run our fear. At some point it always catches up with us. It simply becomes a choice of either taking control of it or being paralysed by it.

Douglas Channing



Category : Anxiety & Blog & Happiness & Mood

Comments are closed.