Lifestyle Change

extreme close up photo of frightened eyes

5 Actionable Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal with, but you can learn how to overcome fear and anxiety.

When we are pursuing a new experience, like a new job opportunity, relationship, or starting a business, fear can hold us back. It can make us see challenges as insurmountable or make us over-prepare to the point that it slows our growth.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here. 

Fear and Anxiety

Quote: Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength

“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.”

Thich Nhat Hanh 

The best way to deal with fear is to face it. In facing it, you get to see if the story you made up around the issue is true or what you may be lacking to help you move forward. The more we avoid the problem, the more anxiety we consequently cause around it. For example, if you are constantly thinking about whether you will do well on an upcoming exam, you can’t sleep. The consequent exhaustion then triggers even more anxiety because you can’t concentrate and study, further impacting your sleep– and just like that, the worry has just become a debilitating cycle, confirming your worst fear- you won’t be ready for the exam and will fail.

Instead, the goal has to become to lean into the fear so you can disarm it. What if you acknowledged what your worry and fear was in the first place instead of reacting to it. Could we possibly find a better response so it loses some of its strength?

How do fears get in the way of being successful?

Culturally, I’ve been raised to not speak over others, and I think I have this natural resistance to being seen, and it’s my kryptonite that shows up at the wrong time. I can still recall moments sitting “at the table” with people in my profession and listening to them give their opinions on things and wanting to give my two cents but struggling within myself to speak up. 

Fear and anxiety work like that to cripple you within yourself. 

Those experiences can be triggered by various fears like the fear of judgment, failure, or the fear of being alone, and sometimes even the fear of being successful. 

When challenged in that space, it can have this counter-response that looks like overthinking, avoiding opportunities, missed deadlines, low energy, feeling disconnected from your work, procrastination, perfectionism, irritability, or indecisiveness.

How can we overcome fear and anxiety?

Fear is a built in instinct to protect you, so we don’t want to get rid of it, but we do want to help our brains understand the moments we are in fact safe and don’t need that fear reaction. The most effective way to overcome fear, in that case, is to repeatedly do the thing that causes it, but in a safe and controlled way. During this process of exposure, coupled with some skills, you can learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it naturally subsides.

When the emotion of fear or anxiety seems overwhelming, try to shift your focus to a healthier thought or a skill that will reduce the feelings, so it is more manageable. A stress-reduction approach like mindfulness or simply taking a break and disconnecting from the issue and going for a walk may help you better take the actions you need to be successful. I would also add to be patient and add some compassion into the process. Your mind is working to keep you safe when these responses are triggered. It can’t always tell the action you want to take isn’t a dangerous risk but one you can handle and necessary to improve your current situation.

Start your business today. Help with business formation documents

How to overcome the fears of growth as a professional

Start by identifying the fears holding you back from reaching your next level. Our thoughts are powerful, but they can be damaging and limiting when building out your dreams. The fear of failure is like the dark cloud that follows most professionals as they work on advancing their careers, especially through entrepreneurship. Rather than simply stopping people from being entrepreneurial, fear of failure can also serve as a motivator for success with a better understanding of your response dynamics. To help you better recognize and challenge your internal reactions to growth we put together some exercises to help you find those fears with the Believe Bigger Workbook available here.

Here are a few prompts from the workbook to challenge your mindset:

  1. Once you’ve identified a few of your fears, can you think of specific experiences from your life that might have formed these fears?
  2. What do you feel is holding you back from more significant success?
  3. Recall a time you were afraid. How did you move past the fear?
  4. Pause for a moment and identify and write about five of your strengths.
5 Actionable steps to overcome fear and anxiety. Prompts and steps to reduce fears and challenge your mindset.

To deepen this practice and find the root of self-sabotaging behaviors, try keeping a journal over a period of two or three weeks. Look for any patterns you notice, the source of those fears (family, culture, financial, criticism, etc), and their validity. Fear is often fed by false stories making your experience seem much worse than it really is.

In Summary:

  1. Lean into your fears. Figure out what it’s about, and if it is valid for the direction you are going.
  2. Practice stress reduction techniques like mindfulness or disconnecting from the source of distress at the moment.
  3. Shift your focus to more positive thoughts or emotions. Use your imagination or visualization to picture that same fearful experience with a positive outcome, and embrace the positive emotions you anticipate feeling with your successful outcome. The control and calm you experience during your visualization can actually help you get through the actual ordeal with more ease.
  4. Challenge your mindset around the fear with journal prompts like the one above and other exploratory resources like the Believing Bigger Workbook for Women in Business.
  5. Practice Compassion. Your mind is only trying to keep you safe.

Related Reads:

How to know if negative thinking is affecting your business

Why do we let ourselves down

At home treatment for children with anxiety

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist, speaker, and Mindset Coach for high achieving women in business. Her joy is addressing mental health on multiple levels from the boardroom to your virtual office.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. 

shallow focus photography of keychains

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

Communicating your feelings to your partner is sometimes easier said than done. A lot of times we struggle to find the words to really express ourselves, especially in a way that will be well received by our partners.

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, what should be Huxtable moments on the couch turn out like an episode of your favorite notorious reality TV Show. Communication difficulties are actually the number one reason couples divorce in the United States. According to one study, 67.5% of marriages that ended did so mainly because of communication problems.

Common Communication Pitfalls: 

  • Blaming your partner or criticizing them 
  • Being defensive when your partner shares their feelings 
  • Calling your partner names/labeling your partner negatively 
  • Giving the silent treatment – refusing to respond to your partner’s bids to communicate  
  • Interrupting or cutting your partner off
  • Shutting down and withdrawing emotionally and verbally. Giving the silent treatment. 

Difficulties with communication can lead to increased arguments/conflict, lack of trust, feelings of insecurity, emotional distancing, and overall stagnation and unhappiness in a relationship. Communication is a skill that is essential to a happy and healthy partnership and may take some practice.

Five Ways to Communicate Your Feelings In Relationships: 

five ways to communicate your feelings in relationships. Couples therapy. Take breaks. Use I statemets
  • Say What You Need – Think of what you need to resolve how you are feeling. What brought up the feelings in the first place? What needs attention, or what could your partner be missing? Our partners can’t read our minds and can misread behaviors. A way to reduce the tension is to begin to say what you need. That might sound like: I get really worried and scared if I don’t hear from you when you’re running late. Can you give me a call or text if you’re running late?
  • Use “I” Statements – “I” statements are a great way to express how you feel to your partner and avoid common pitfalls. Using “you” statements can quickly be taken as blaming and tends to raise the temperature of conflict. An example of this is, “I feel sad when we don’t spend time together” vs. “you never spend time with me” can you see the difference?
  • Label your feelings – Give words to how you feel. It is helpful for your partner to hear and know your exact emotions instead of going silent or communicating with passive-aggressive actions.  

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

  • Take A Break – If conversations get difficult, it can be helpful to take a break and do something to self-soothe or calm the intensity of your emotions. To slow down the pace of the conflict, use an “I” statement and express your need for a break positively. That might sound like: I think I’m starting to get overwhelmed. Can you give me 20 minutes to calm down before we continue? Always revisit the conversation when you are calmer instead of ignoring or avoiding the issue. 

Relationships need healthy challenges that allow partners to grow together. Be patient with yourself and your partner, try a skill like validation and avoid those common communication pitfalls described above. As you improve your communication style, both in how you express yourself and respond to how others express themselves to you, you will see growth in your relationships. 

Think you might need some more practice in this area? Join us on 4.11.22 at 6 PM EST for a FREE Couples Workshop on Communication.  Our community deserves more skills, and we are here to facilitate it. Register in advance here 👈🏾

Article by Alyssa Heavens a Marriage and Family Associate at Kensho Psychotherapy Services. Piece edited by Supervisor and Mental Health Consultant, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

20 Encouraging Quotes From Phenomenal Women of Color

Being authentic is not easy, especially for women. They have to break norms and find the courage to walk the path less traveled while navigating perceptions of what they are capable of being.

“I am not less, because I’m Black. And I am not less, because I’m a Woman.” – Marian Wright

If today is one of those days you are tired of fighting for your value, motivation is running low, or you are just looking for self-assurance, we hope to inspire you with the words of other phenomenal women of color as you continue to create the change you wish to see.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

To all women who are experiencing inequalities and injustice in the pursuit of their dreams, a few encouraging tips:  

  1. Don’t stay where you are not valued. Think about how much time and energy you are wasting navigating that. Take a breath, and get grounded in your worth.
  2. Money isn’t everything. Your mental health and overall well-being are priceless and your expertise is valuable.
  3. Watch for complacency. It’s like drinking the Kool-Aid in a cult. As much as you dislike the experience and recognize the emotional exhaustion of your current situation, it’s easy to put your needs second and make yourself small for the benefit of the culture.

In whatever season this finds you, I hope these positive quotes by other women of color will help you feel motivated and inspired enough to reconsider your possibilities.

(1)

“It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you.”

— Iyanla Vanzant

(2)

“You can fall, but you can rise also.”

– Angelique Kidjo

(3)

“If you prioritize yourself, you are going to save yourself.”

– Gabrielle Union
Quotes of encouragement for women of color. Prioritize yourself. Dress for success and a great mood.

What I will say is that what I’ve learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else and that myself is good enough; and that when I am being true to that self, then I can avail myself to extraordinary things. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.

Lupita Nyong’o

Stepping Out In Style

(4)

“Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.”

– Sadie Delany

(5)

This is your moment. Building courage for women. Women in business coaching.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

(6)

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Angela Davis

(7)

A reminder that you are good enough. Your worth is important.

“Am I good enough? Yes I am.”

Michelle Obama

(8)

Empowering quotes. Quote of the day

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.”

Angela Davis

(9)

“The way to win is to try.”

Stacey Abrams

(10)

“Determine to live life with flair and laughter.”

Maya Angelou

(11)

“When the heart is right, the mind and body will follow.”

– Coretta Scott King

(12)

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”

– Madam CJ Walker

(13)

“Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.”

– Oprah Winfrey

(14)

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

– Maya Angelou

(15)

“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.”

– Oprah Winfrey

(16)

”Don’t listen to those who say YOU CAN’T. Listen to the voice inside yourself that says, I CAN.”

 – Shirley Chisolm

(17)

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.”

– Maya Angelou

(18)

“Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.”

– Beyoncé Knowles
Spring collections?Being what you want!!

(19)

This blog provides inspirational quotes and messages to all young women of color. I

“I am no longer accepting “Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.”

– Janelle Monáe

(20)

“Some of your goals are buried so deep in fear it doesn’t have access to what it needs to grow”

-Amanda Fludd

Did you find at least one encouraging quote that resonates with you? Take that quote and say it out loud to yourself when you need a little encouragement and better yet, share it with other phenomenal women of color. Black women need to feel inspired and encouraged every day.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Mindset Coach for high-achieving women and professionals venturing into business. Her joy is tackling mental health on multiple platforms and she is available for speaking engagements and training.

Related Reads:

Dismantle The Doubt and Build Your Dreams

How to Follow Through On Your Goals

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission for anything you decide to buy.  We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.

beloved african american couple cuddling and smiling on couch

The Power of Feeling Understood

We’ve all been there. Having a disagreement or argument with our partner and afterward wondering, “Why couldn’t she see where I was coming from?” or “Why couldn’t he agree that how I felt makes sense?”. These questions indicate our natural desire for validation.

Validation is recognizing or accepting that someone’s emotions, thoughts, or opinions have worth. In other words, being validated gives us a sense of being seen, heard, and understood.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here. https://amandafludd.com/affiliate-disclosure/

Even the most self-confident people, at one point of their lives, felt like outsiders or felt like they weren’t being heard or seen or witnessed in some way

Steve Carell

Validation is essential to have in all relationships, and in romantic relationships, it can make a tremendous difference when it comes to communication in a relationship. Couples will naturally disagree and or argue. One partner validating the other is one way to ease tension, build trust, and support getting to a solution in the smoothest way possible.

What Does Validation Look Like?

Validation is not simply agreeing with whatever your partner says. Many people think it is just agreeing with the other person and often share that feels like giving away your power or losing your voice (especially if you know they are wrong!). Most of us come into conversations in the defensive, but that stance takes away our power to see the other person’s point of view, and that point of view is where resolutions lie. Without question coming off defensive and listening can feel unnatural and almost painful at first, but eventually, you’ll see the benefits and get why it’s worth it.

Validation may look or sound like this, “I can see why this upset you” or “It makes sense why you felt that way. I see your point of view [reflect back what you think that is] and ask, do I have that right?”.

ways to validate your partner. Use empathy and communicate your needs clearly

To be clear, validation is not just saying repeating back the words; it should include some of these critical components:

  • Empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how you would feel if you had their experience. You can emotionally stay connected to your partner even through conflict with empathy. It also helps you respond with sincerity as you authentically acknowledge your partner’s perspective. 
  • Acceptance – Who doesn’t want to feel accepted? Acceptance from a partner means that they accept you for who you are and the feelings and perspectives that come with you even if they disagree with it at that moment. Acceptance also means being okay with having differing opinions. Not every disagreement will end with a complete agreement in the end. 

Validation is powerful because it allows for understanding even in the face of disagreements.

  • Active Listening & Understanding – You have to pay attention without your phone in your hand, emails at the desk, or concern for the kids. Being attentive to your partner’s ideas and feelings is a great way to validate. Actively listening to your partner means removing all distractions and focusing entirely on the conversation to develop understanding. This includes asking clarifying questions and summarizing/reflecting on what your partner says.

Related blog: How to practice being aware of your emotions

Why Does Validation Work?

Free couples workshop. You will learn how to speak and listen to your partner and validate your partner.
Join the free Workshop here

We all want to be understood and not get into conflict. Everyone wants to feel heard instead of ignored, minimized, or dismissed. So keep that in mind when you get into your next conversation.

Validation allows people to feel heard, so they don’t have to cling so tightly to their position. It is that simple, and it’s one of the reasons why so many conflicts go on so long and escalate to ridiculous proportions- we didn’t acknowledge the other person’s concerns.

Using the components of validation can help you better acknowledge your partner and help you move through conflict. Honestly, it’s a skill that can help in multiple settings, including at work, as parents, and even with your friends. It’s not always easy to remain in control of our feelings, but it gets better with practice.

If you feel like you and your partner would benefit from more practice, join our free upcoming communication workshop on 4.11.22 at 6PM EST by registering here.

Remember, validation does not mean that you agree with everything your partner says; validation is about making sure your partner does not feel alone in their experience.

NEW Special Offer Banner (Gluten Free Box)

Alyssa Heavens is an associate at Kensho Psychotherapy Services specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling. Piece edited by Supervisor and Mental Health Consultant, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

Affiliate Disclosure: We independently review everything we recommend and suggest what may be helpful to you. Take a look, but do your own research before purchasing. If you do buy through our links, we sometimes earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

woman wearing eyeglasses in grayscale photography

The Uninvited House Guest: Emotions

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

No one likes to experience worry, embarrassment, shame, anxiety, or the type of intense sadness that feels like a heaviness that will not go away. It’s uncomfortable, intrusive, takes away your sense of control, and often feels like an uninvited guest. If only we could make it go away. Bye girl, and don’t slam my door on the way out! 

Yeah, if only. 

Who doesn’t want to feel good? We live in a world where sunshine and everlasting rainbows dripped in positivity are constantly promoted. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of positivity, but when it means chasing away those negative feelings at any cost, that’s when it can become problematic. In my work, I’ve come across some pretty creative ways of avoiding feelings: 

  • Never noticing and talking about it 
  • Laughter at awkward times
  • Shopping sprees
  • Late-night eating while binge-watching Netflix
  • Oversleeping 
  • Walking away at the height of an argument 
  • And [enter your habit here]

These may be great momentary fixes, but the truth is, they only serve to invalidate your experiences. Without fail, the uncomfortable emotions will resurface again and run wild, often with greater intensity than before. 

Have you ever wondered why your emotions are showing up in the first place? And where you learned to dismiss them? Is it a process you observed while growing up? Or maybe said to you with words like “boys don’t cry,” or hearing phrases like: “you’ll be fine” when it sure doesn’t feel that way at the moment, “toughen up,” or “calm down.” 

Invalidation is sneaky, and the consequence is a human who learns not to acknowledge their emotions without judgment or trust their emotional experience. Worse yet, you realize it’s not worth it to open up to others about how you feel because it comes at the uncomfortable risk of again being dismissed or feeling unheard. 

If I were to sum it up, there is nothing wrong with you. You are not defective because you worry sometimes, are scared of becoming depressed again or aren’t happy all the time. Our life is richer because of our emotional experiences. Emotions allow us to tune in to what we need. It gives us grounds to ask for clarification and express our needs. It fosters attuned leaders and skills like compassion and creativity. Learning to welcome your emotions gives us a real sense of flexibility, freedom, and control.

practice noticing your emotions, awareness of emotions, managing emotions

So how do you embrace your emotions and get to that kind of magic? 

Feelings are just information. One of my favorite books is Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein. The book invites you to look at your emotions like a guest, but instead of shutting the door in its face, asking it why it’s here. We all experience a wide range of emotions, and to better respond to them, we have to take the time to understand them. 

Start with taking some space when you notice a difficult emotion. It may mean excusing yourself from an argument with a scheduled time to return, stepping out of the office for a bathroom break, or closing your eyes for a few moments to disconnect. At that moment, find your breath. Use it to anchor you. Try something like four square breathing. Slowing your breathing allows your automatic nervous system to regulate and brings more ease to your body and your mind. It would look like this:

1. Bring your attention to your breath.  

2. Inhale and slowly count for four seconds. 

3. Hold for four seconds. 

4. Exhale and slowly count for four seconds.  

5. Hold for four seconds.

6. Do this four-five times. 

When you feel that shift in your emotion or feel overwhelmed, angry, or frantic, pause and just breathe. Once you settle down, you can explore with curiosity the emotions that kicked this off in the first place. 

What is it trying to bring to your attention (like maybe you’ve taken on too many tasks, need more support, worry about an outcome, etc.)?

It’s a great way to learn to notice and read your body signals as you would shift in temperature and the weather. This practice can help you recognize and understand the messages that speak to what you need or don’t need to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Psychotherapist, Mental Health Trainer, Black Therapist, Coach

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Mindset Coach for high-achieving women in business. Her joy is tackling mental health on multiple platforms.

Related Reads:

15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

My Thoughts Support My Success

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. 

extreme close up photo of frightened eyes

5 Actionable Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal …

shallow focus photography of keychains

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

Communicating your feelings to your partner is sometimes easier said than done. A lot of times we struggle to find the words …

20 Encouraging Quotes From Phenomenal Women of Color

Being authentic is not easy, especially for women. They have to break norms and find the courage to walk the path less traveled …