Christmas Fears: Why do our fears overwhelm us during what should be the happiest time of the year?
Why is it that during what should be as joyous and relaxing a time as Christmas, we often feel at our most anxious and fearful? Niamh Ennis on tackling these feelings head-on.
As you slide towards the end of this year, are you feeling stuck, unfulfilled or like you’ll never reach the levels of access you have always wanted to? Christmas is a time of year when we feel everything so much more and that includes our fears.
Our fears can often takeover unwittingly, holding you back and getting in your way between where you are now and where you want to get to. You are letting your fear win out and it’s preventing you from achieving your true potential. So, while you might blame other people and think your circumstances are the main obstacle, the fact is that your fear is your greatest challenge.
Yet we can all relate to feeling fearful, scared or worried. You might know it as imposter syndrome; you might simply be scared of getting caught out, or laughed at, or judged, and some of you might just be fearful of everything else.
Fear is a natural occurrence; we all feel it and that’s not always a bad thing. Don’t be afraid of your fears. What matters most when it comes to your experience of fear is understanding what’s happening underneath.
When it comes to managing our fears, we need to shift our focus from trying to banish our fears to learning to live with them. Working on the basis that “what we name we can tame”, once we have a better understanding of the source of our fears, we can reduce the potential to be completely overwhelmed by them.
Of course, this is not as straightforward as it might first appear, mostly because our fears are actually quite clever. They come in terrific disguises and make it more than a little challenging for us to spot them. It might require your best investigative powers.
Four steps to managing your fears this Christmas
Don’t hide from them
The only way to really deal with fear is to face it. Head on. Hiding or avoiding our fears only stops us from moving forward. Try and go gently on yourself and do only what feels comfortable and safe to you at any given time. Facing your fears is also about you recognising that some of these fears might not even be yours. They could belong to your parents or even your parents’ parents, and have been handed down from one generation to the next. Acknowledging this will clear the way for you to reconnect with your individual needs and desires and get greater clarity on what it is you need to make you happy.
Imagine the worst-case scenario
If you were to visualise the worst thing that could happen and you were to think about it in as much detail as possible, what would that look like? Bring it to life in your mind, or on paper, by describing how it might pan out, the conversations you might have, how you will show up in each scenario. By doing this you are starting to diffuse the influence those thoughts have over you and you’ll begin to see that the fear will dissolve the more you chase it.
Examine the evidence
When we feel fearful, we believe what we feel with utter conviction. We accept it as fact. We justify our fear perhaps a little too easily. It can often help to challenge these fearful thoughts, asking “is this true?” And then asking again, “Is this really true?” This might sound like a basic question but trust me if you sit with it, it can bring powerful awareness. Observe when your fear becomes so mixed up with events from the past that you have decided that this is what is going to happen again in your future. It won’t if you choose not to allow it.
When we experience a life-changing event, we can unwittingly become disconnected from ourselves. We move straight to our heads where we can think, analyse and plan our way forward. It gives us a feeling of control. But what we are also doing is disconnecting from our heart, our intuition, the feeling part of us and this can leave space for fear to dominate our thoughts.
Stop beating yourself up. It’s okay to be on your way to getting things done just as much as it is to having things done. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get to that final destination, to have everything totally perfect, that we miss out on the experience of getting there. Slow down. Expect the unexpected, anticipate the fears, make room for them but then keep moving forward.
It can be incredibly intimidating to speak about our heart and soul space in a world that is so evidence-based, yet when it comes to fears, how we feel on an individual level is actually all the evidence we need.
As you step into this next year ahead, I invite you to learn to listen to that, to pay attention to what your heart and intuition are trying to communicate to you. If you are chasing something, be absolutely sure it’s something that you want and not something that someone tells you you should have.
Life will instantly become easier and your fears will begin to dissipate when you choose to do what feels fully in alignment with what you desire, and most notably, what you deserve. Don’t forget that!
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach, Founder of The RESET for Change her 3 Month 1:1 Private Coaching Programme and host of The TOUGH LOVE ENERGY™ Podcast. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear, but always what you need. If you want 2023 to mean Change and Transformation for you, then find her on Instagram @1niamhennis or visit www.niamhennis.com
This article was originally published in 2021.