Four Fears

A couple of years ago I was certified as a Fear Releasing Coach and also as a Wellness Coach. This year my professional New Year’s Resolution is to aim towards wellness by reducing fear.

I tend towards a more anxious personality that craves safety. That has served my business well when I use that energy to look at all potential future risks and put systems in place to avoid problems.

I also have a personality type that analyzes everything. That’s great as an Occupational Therapist and a Centered Riding Instructor were I can look at an activity like horseback riding and analyze all it’s different parts … what body parts the horse moves on a person, what happens to balance during speed changes, and how a horse responds to a rider’s muscle tension.

This past month I’ve been analyzing fear and came up with four different categories of fears. I’ve named those four fears Risk Fear, Threat Fear, Trauma Fear, and Loss Fear.

People with risk fear are the type that craves safety (like I do) and goes through all the “what if’s” in a perceived risky situation. Risk fear has you looking into the future about everything that could go wrong … what if a bee stings my horse and he runs off with me and I fall off and get hurt and can’t work and then can’t pay my bills and lose my house. People with risk fear need to know how to determine if a risk is probable or if a risk is possible. Every time I drive to work, it’s possible I’ll get into an accident but is it probable? Well, maybe if it’s freezing rain and I’m driving on bald tires. If a risk is probable, then you deal with it by changing what you do … fix my tires and avoid driving during freezing rain.

Threat fear is something that happens to us all. It is the fight/flight stress response that happens when we have to face a threat. The threat may be psychological (a work task deadline that will be impossible to meet) or it may be physical (dealing in the moment with a bucking horse). You can’t always predict threat fear because there are so many factors that are just out of our control … weather, another person’s behavior, or a horse with it’s own mind. Even though you can’t predict it, you can handle threat fear better by understanding what the fight/flight response does to the body and how to minimize it.

People with trauma fear have experienced a past accident or incident that overwhelmed their ability to cope. The most severe type of trauma fear is actually a diagnosis called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are less severe trauma fear types too. But in everyone with trauma fear, big or small, somehow they have a “download” of a fear trigger from the past trauma event. That trigger can cause a stress response under seemingly benign conditions … ex. if you were injured while showing your horse jumping over a red jump, then a trigger could be show arenas or jumping horses or the color red. You deal with trauma fear by tuning into your body and neutralizing the triggers.

Loss fear is the most difficult type of fear to acknowledge. This is the type of fear that results from a combination of the other fears … past events, trauma of some sort, the what ifs. If a person has always dreamed of trail riding and finally goes on a trail ride but then experiences soreness or overwhelm at the distance or being corrected by another trail rider … the person may start sabotaging self-talk … I’ll never get this, I don’t know why I’m here, I’m not good enough, but instead the person could be thinking … wow this is harder than I thought and here I am doing it, there is so much more to learn, I’ll have stories to tell after today.  Giving into loss fear creates a hole inside of yourself that drains your dreams and joy, causing avoidance and procrastination of things you really want to do. You deal with loss fear by journaling your dreams, setting goals to overcome obstacles, and reframing negative self-judgement to positive affirmations.

If you’re a horse person and want to live fearlessly, join me for an online workshop starting this month. DETAILS HERE.

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