I spent the weekend peacefully and then this morning found myself back in the center of the fear spiral–anytime there’s an inbound call coming from Olga I seem to have more than a little PTSD. Understandable, right??
I sat with my phone on my lunch hour waiting, heart pounding. I watched the usual time range of her call (1:45-2:15) come and go. I noticed an email in my inbox called “How to Let Go of Fear and Live Life with Courage,” and read it. It helped a smidge. It got me to breathe. (I copied it below for you–it’s lovely.) Fear spiral! What if what if what if! I finally had to go in for a meeting, turned my ringer off. Two minutes after turning the ringer off, I checked the phone one last time–a voicemail! I ran into a conference room.
Olga: “Hi, it’s Olga calling from UCSF, how are you? Your number went up nicely, congratulations! It went up to 7,504, so that’s fantastic!”
AHHHHHHH! The number is great. I haven’t googled my beta numbers because they seem high but there’s a huge range and all will be determined at the ultrasound. I called Olga back and she was totally pleased and congratulatory and wanted to know if I have an OB lined up (haven’t done one bit of research and it’ll be a midwife) and we scheduled an ultrasound with Dr. T. on 9/11, at which point I will be 6 weeks 3 days, and I will find out how many babies we’re talking about.
Which means today I am 5 weeks 2 days.
And you won’t believe what that means: counting backward, Day 1 would be my birthday, July 28.
It’s a birthday miracle!! xoxoxo!
How to Let Go of Fear and Live Life with Courage
Fear is sticky, like glue. The initial emotion of fear may only last a few minutes, but if we let it linger, it can get stuck in our system for days, months, or even a lifetime.
The sensation of fear is effective if it protects us from real threats. The fight-or-flight reaction has helped humans escape life-threatening dangers over the millennia. But in this era of thinking, creating, and problem solving, our fears are usually unfounded. And when fear sticks in our system, it becomes a toxic influence on our choices, emotions, and actions.
Here are a few tips for getting fear out of your system:
1. Label it.
The first step is to simply notice your fear. As soon as you feel that tightness in your chest, just say, “I’m feeling afraid.” By labeling the fear, you separate the feeling from who you are. It is just a sensation.
2. Accept it.
Once you notice your fear, don’t judge yourself for feeling this way. You’re human; to feel fear is part of our DNA. Instead, be proud of it–if you’re feeling fear, you’re likely pushing your comfort zone and fighting the good fight. Let the feeling flow through you.
3. Let it go.
This is the hardest part, because a part of our mind feels safer clinging to the fear. It feels productive, and we worry that if we let go of the fear, it’ll sneak up and catch us off-guard.
But there’s a difference between being aware your risks and clinging to fear. Let your fear go, and like a passing rain shower it will soon dissipate.
4. Focus on the present.
Most people dwell on future outcomes (that will probably never happen) or past failures (that don’t define who we are). We can avoid useless fear by instead focusing on the present.
How do you get present? By stopping right here and now, and taking a breath. As soon as you feel that knot in your stomach, stop everything you’re doing and just sit with it. Turn off your phone, step away from your computer, and take three breaths. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
In that pause, you can let the fear run its course. And once the storm has passed, you’ll move on, stronger and better equipped to face life’s challenges.
Jesse Jacobs, Founder
Samovar Tea Lounge