What is Fear? Merriam Webster defines it as “a strong unpleasant feeling caused by being aware of danger or expecting something bad to happen.”
It is also one of the most important survival features a human being possesses. At issue is not fear resulting from high-stakes dangers but the little fears we walk around with and try to suppress, on a daily basis.
With the understanding that fear is a spectrum, and that for some anxiety can be debilitating, I’d like to invite you to disrupt your reaction to it. In particular, the ways in which fear impacts your communication.
Here is a quick checklist for fear disruption:
- Are you actually in danger? If yes, your fear is building resources to get you out of there in one piece. If not, identify the situation and be clear with yourself, verbally, that you are not actually in danger.
- Are you breathing? One of the first systems impacted by anxiety is your respiratory system. Work on exhaling fully with support from the abdominals and inhaling with as little effort as possible. Don’t judge the quality of this process just focus on engaged exhalation, expansive inhalation.
- Are you poised for fight or flight? This will manifest as tension both physical and psychological. It may also be accompanied by other feelings of discomfort. Here is the important piece: Engaging in discomfort is okay, even beneficial, but you have to know when your discomfort may actually be distress. The tool for discomfort here is to move. Shake it out, dance it out, or take a brisk walk but whatever you do put your entire energy into it.
- Do you have the resources to disrupt the fear? It is all well and good to know you are not in danger and try to disrupt the pattern. Still, some days you just can’t do it. Acknowledge it and move on. Tomorrow is another day. If you find yourself consistently stuck here, you are definitely not alone and support is available.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.