Why a fear inventory reduces anxiety and improves sleep
‘Everything you want is on the other side of fear’
~ Jack Canfield
Fear can stand in the way of us achieving our desires. It can take over our thoughts and occupy our minds. It can block us from trying out new things and living the life we dream of. As fear can have such a big hold over us, impacting our lives in such a negative way, finding ways to manage it becomes critical.
I have recently been introduced to a concept called a Fear Inventory through CoachMe. I love this idea and have tried it out for myself with amazing results, let me share it with you.
What is a fear inventory?
A fear inventory is the process of moving all the subconscious thoughts and fears that we have roaming around in our heads, into our conscious minds.
Everyone carries around with them a heavy burden of unconscious fears. These fears can prevent us from reaching our full potential and living a life without worry. When we carry out a fear inventory, it enables us to bring our fears to the surface, allowing us to see them more clearly and to deal with them accordingly.
When we see them written down in front of us, we should find that it creates the space to address them and makes them seem less significant and overwhelming. We might also find that once the fears have been committed to paper and are out of our mind, it creates the space to focus on our desires instead.
How to create your fear inventory
- Allocate an hour in a quiet space with a pen and paper
- Take time to reflect on everything that has been causing you anxiety. Think about people, situations, dilemmas, issues, places and experiences that are sitting heavy on you.
- Write everything that comes to your mind down, don’t worry if it goes on for pages and pages, especially if it is the first time you have done it, get everything out of your head and onto the paper
- Reflect a bit more and keep going
- It can help to split them into 2 sections:
- Deep rooted long term fear
- Current anxieties about things coming up in the short term
- You can group fears into topics and then go into more detail on exactly what it is that you fear in that area
You might want to do this as a one off exercise, but you can do it as often as you like if it helps take the fear out of your head.
When you have finished, you want to release the fears. You have a number of options depending on what works best for you:
- Read it out to a friend that you trust
- Tear up the list and throw it away
- Send a prayer to let go of the fears
- Write down your hopes against each fear
- Write an aspiration inventory
An aspiration inventory is where you follow the same process, but instead of detailing your fears you document your dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. You can turn this into a vision board if you are a more visual person.
Benefits of creating your fear inventory
1) Lessens the power of the fears
By detailing all the fears that have been occupying your mind into a document, it creates the process of removing them from your head. You have them captured on a hard copy, so that you don’t need to store them in your mind and think about them all the time anymore. This lessons the power they have over you and makes them seem less significant and crippling.
2) You see your fears more objectively
When you can see your fears clearly laid out in front of you in all their glory, it allows you the opportunity to review them in an entirely objective way. Often they will seem more manageable that they do when they are running around your mind.
3) Easier to address your fears and take action on them
Once you have written them down and you can clearly see what you are afraid of, you are in a better position to be able to address them. You can go through each one in turn and decide how to deal with it. You can decide to take action to lessen it, or just be more comfortable that it is there, but it doesn’t need to be an issue for you.
4) Makes room for your desires
When you are not spending all your focus and energy dealing with what you are afraid of, you can start focusing on your aspirations instead. You will have more capacity to focus on the positive and what you want from life, than everything that is holding you back and causing you anxiety.
5) Makes room for excellent sleep
One of the root causes that stops people from sleeping is having too much on your mind. Once you have gone through the process of extracting these fears from your mind, you should find that it means you get a much more peaceful nights sleep.
I have updated my deep rooted fears in my Book of Life so they are all contained in one place. I gave them much more consideration than I previously had and got to the core of what I am worried about and what makes me anxious. Then I also made a list of the short term day to day fears I have at this present moment and folded it up and put it in a drawer. It felt great to get them out of my head and I find it useful to keep them, so I can review them when I need to, to remind myself they aren’t that bad.
Once I had completed the exercise I had the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time as my mind felt very de-cluttered and my anxieties had eased. The result of the exercise for me was that I have found the fears much easier to manage since they have come fully into my conscious mind.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below about whether you have tried this exercise and whether it had any positive benefits for you.
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