Don’t let fear make your life too stressful.
Story: Dr. Owen Ashton Thomas
Stress goes by many different names: tension, anxiety, nerves. Ultimately, the best synonym for stress is fear. These common reactions to everyday events and circumstances become an overwhelming force that blocks our ability to feel good about our life. In the extreme, fear immobilizes and restricts growth.
Fear of failure
What is it we fear? In most cases, we fear we may fail to meet the expectations of others, or worse, ourselves. We have, through our past experiences, learned that failure should be avoided at all cost. Sometimes we even doubt our abilities to cope with failure and the chaos of everyday life.
Awareness of our true nature
Flipping our outlook on anxiety and fear requires an awareness of who or what we really are. Are we just a bag of bones, flesh, and chemicals? Of course not. We are the latest version of a greater plan. It took billions of years of evolution to create you, just the way you are now. Internalizing this awareness is your task if you wish to avoid stress, anxiety, and fear.
Put it to the test
Your consistent thoughts become your destiny. Since childhood, your mind has been polluted with negative thinking. If you have ever “failed” at anything, you know the mental suffering this generates. That is why you experience stress, tension, and anxiety. Your task now is to replace negative detractors with positive affirmations.
It may seem trite, but we know we become what we think. Start affirming yourself as a powerful individual with amazing potential and ability. Once you form a new perception of yourself, what is there to fear? Stress dissolves in an atmosphere of gratitude.
Commit to this routine for 30 days, and you will notice an evolution in your self-perception. If you can train your mind to step away from fear of failure, you will find yourself facing less stress.
Here is a way to test these concepts:
- Every night as you drift off to sleep, affirm what you have. It is easy to overlook the routine and the everyday blessings around us. Many individuals do not have a support system, family, stability, or health we so often take for granted. It’s an exercise of your most powerful ability, your imagination.
- Review your major failures. In most cases, failure can be perceived as an opportunity to learn and grow. Remember that most successful people failed many times while reaching for new levels of accomplishment. Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before perfecting the lightbulb. When asked about those failures, he stated he didn’t fail, he simply found 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb. Do you consider him a failure? Failure shows us what not to do.
- Now that you know “failure” is an opportunity to become better, cultivate a spirit of gratitude. That is why we are told to be “thankful in all things.”
- Share your new awareness with someone. Teaching is the best way to learn. Serving others fills your life with positive feelings and opens the way to fulfilling your purpose.
About the writer
Dr. Owen Ashton Thomas, has lived and practiced general surgery in Florida since 1984. In 1999, he became chief of surgery and later established a specialty outpatient venous treatment center. His first book, “Above the Fray,” describes his three close encounters with death, his 30-year experience dealing with life-and-death experiences, his own reactions to extreme stress.