Halloween is coming up, and just about everyone likes to be scared on that day. It’s fun and it can help heighten the excitement of the holiday. However, there are some people who have fear in their lives that isn’t much fun – those who are facing big changes, uncertainties and loss. Our guests talk about how fear affects our lives and how it can be decreased or eliminated by perseverance, positive thinking and compassion.
Brad and Kasey Wallis, co-founders of “Expand With Julius,” a private coaching and workshop firm
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Dealing with Fear in Everyday Life
Gary Price: Halloween is coming up and it’s a time when many of us go out of our way to be frightened. All of the scary costumes, haunted houses and horror movies add to our feelings of fear on that holiday. For many people, though, fear is a daily emotion that’s no fun at all. How can we deal with it as a frequent occurrence? We talked to Brad and Kasey Wallis, co-founders of “Expand With Julius,” a private coaching and workshop firm, about how individuals can learn to cope with the events in their lives that can cause fear. First of all, what is fear? Kasey Wallis says that it’s an instinctual emotion that helps us avoid danger and survive. However, in the modern world, it sometimes goes beyond just the inborn emotion to live and becomes a negative influence on our lives.
Kasey Wallis: What has happened over time and through society and through the bombardment of manipulation and coercment, people have really learned to initiate fear in others and keep that state sustained in them. It ends up being very, very exhausting; it ends up eroding and distorting all of your perceptions and your behaviors in your life and you really lose sight and control of what you’re doing.
Price: To illustrate how this works, Kasey uses the example of two people who are enthusiastic about learning how to scuba dive before they watch two very different films.
Wallis: You know, it’s beautiful under the water. It’s extraordinary. Everybody’s talked about it. They’ve watched videos of it and so the two of them go to a scuba diving course. And they go through all the initiation practices and they’re really ready to go; and they’ve gone through all the safety regulations. The night before they go diving, one of them watches the movie Jaws and the other one watches the television series, Flipper. Now the two of them go diving the next day and you can imagine now what takes place. The poor person that’s watched Jaws is so scared and paranoid. They go under that water, they’re looking around, they’re afraid. Something’s going to get them. They can’t wait to get back to the surface. They start to panic. They have problems breathing. The other person’s swimming around having a great time, looking for Flipper. They get back on the boat and they start to talk about their experience. And if you were sitting on the boat captaining that ship listening to the two of them, you would never have believed they went diving in the same spot.
Price: Kasey adds that a person’s perception creates their reality, and that’s what can cause a persistent fear. Brad Wallis says that anyone who has felt fearful for a time knows that it can take its toll not only on the emotions, but also on the body.
Brad Wallis: Fear is a very low, slow – it almost feels like you’re moving through sludge. Your body starts moving so slowly and it causes you to age faster because fear is a very low frequency. It drags on you when you’re afraid of something. When you experience something out of joy, you are almost as light as a feather. You go through life not concerned about too many things and that’s the difference between the two of them.
Price: One of the biggest causes of fear is change. Brad says that faced with an unsatisfying situation like an unhappy marriage or a move to a new city, many people will opt to do nothing rather than change their lives.
Wallis: Most couples would tell you that it’s easier just to accept what you already are in because you know exactly the way the other person is going to react no matter what happens. We talk about changing, literally moving from where you live to a new community or to another area, then the bombardment of “Oh my goodness! I’ve got to find all these new things now to occupy my time and I don’t know what’s going to keep me busy. You know, those are literal fears and those affect you no matter how hard you try not to have them affect you.
Price: Kasey says that when inertia sets in it can be very secure and comforting, in a way. But it keeps a person from breaking out of the vicious cycle of fear and inaction, and starting to live their life to the fullest.
Wallis: A lot of people don’t like to be what we call the creator of their world or the creator of their life. It’s much easier for them to become a victim. To let other people govern them. To make their decisions based on other people’s experiences. It’s the quintessential cop-out, really. And without trying to insult everybody, humans love cop-out. They really do. So it’s an excuse and it’s a place to be where you don’t have to be responsible for everything in your life. It’s always somebody else’s fault. Until they get tired of being that victim and decide to take hold and learn that they can be the captain of their ship and can navigate their way through. But fear is very safe place.
Price: Of course not everyone is fearful and many people even gravitate toward danger on a daily basis. Police officers, firefighters, high rise construction workers, racecar drivers and others in high-risk jobs seem to be impervious to the terror that most of us would feel doing what they do.
Wallis: They don’t see it as being fearful. So there’s a difference between a risk-taker and recklessness. There’s a difference. For the people who take risk, their first emotion is not fear, but enthusiasm, curiosity, adventurous spirit. That’s their first governing force, which is why they do what they do. Fear is very secondhand to them, or even fourth-hand or fifth-hand to them because they’re confident and they want to make life worthwhile. Fear is a self-esteem issue. It’s a chronic, self-esteem issue. The risk takers generally have a much higher self-esteem and they live in, you know, the optimistic platform.
Price: People in risky occupations are also very well trained to do what they do and take precautions to keep themselves safe on the job so their risk is decreased somewhat. Although some people who face fear in their lives are strong enough to recognize it and decide that they won’t be a slave to it, most of us aren’t. Kasey says that becoming a fearful person doesn’t usually happen over night, and it also doesn’t go away without some hard work.
Wallis: This has usually been slowly fed to you, this fear, this fear, this fear, and so reconfiguring back into love and creativity can be a process also. What most people don’t realize is what has take place. They don’t realize they’ve allowed the fear to be created in their life and so therefore they have the power to reconfigure their life. We show them applications, we show them processes, we give them fabulous dialogue. New ways of thinking so that it starts from your morning and transfers itself into you evening. And pretty soon you’re in a whole new pattern. You’re safe, you’re free and you’re happy.
Price: Kasey says that reconfiguring your life can be as simple as starting the day on a positive note and maintaining it throughout the day.
Wallis: What most people don’t understand is they have the opportunity to choose their thoughts. Most people don’t choose their thoughts. They let other people initiate a thought for them. So we teach people from the time that you wake up in the morning you choose a good thought. You feel that thought. You walk your way through kind of an imaginative state where something really warm and fuzzy and nice has happened to you that morning and now you step out your door. You’ve got the platform for a positive perspective. And throughout the day you bring yourself back to these thoughts. This is what we call “conscious awareness.”
Price: These days it’s not easy to move around in the world without being fearful of something. With all of the scary news stories and nasty social media exchanges we constantly see on the internet, Kasey says it’s becoming more difficult to overcome the negative vibes we’re bombarded with all day long.
Wallis: Everybody’s plugged in and therefore unplugged, really, with their own internal self and their own ability to choose their own thoughts. They’re just letting those thoughts be fed to them, and it’s a poison. It’s the quintessential addiction and that is what has changed in the last 50 years from people walking around. Your generation, our generation, our parent’s generation versus now our children and our grandchildren. These people are in such reactive mode and you can see it. The anger, the violence the blame, the judgment – it is a massive, massive crisis at this time.
Price: That’s why it takes time, perseverance and strength to shed the fear that can hang over us like a dark cloud. There is some fear, though, that many of us jump in with both feet – like that Halloween scariness that we mentioned at the beginning of the story. How is this fear different from the nagging type that we want to get rid of?
Wallis: It can be a stimulant and it can be playful. For some people it’s a real intense emotional experience and that can be pleasing, actually, to somebody who maybe isn’t used to feeling their emotions or recognizing their emotions. It’s when it gets carried into your norm, when it’s your driving force, that’s really where it’s a problem. Depression, chronic conditions, diseases – these are all wrapped to fear-based realities. As long as you keep you fear occasional and playful you’re usually okay. You’re just having a good time with your friends. We just don’t want that to become your norm in your life.
Price: Kasey and Brad Wallis invite listeners to learn more about their talks, workshops and publications on fear and other life issues on their website, expandwithjulius.com. For information about all of our guests, log onto our site at Viewpointsonline.net. You can find archives of past programs there and on iTunes and Stitcher. I’m Gary Price.