In my Visual Journals workshops, I find that the most predominant negative emotion that appears with consistency is FEAR.
Fear can be due to a perceived danger or threat that is clear, the kind that is essential to our survival such as any situation that threatens our safety, security or sense of well-being. This is natural, as long as these fears don't control one's life.
However, sometimes fear is less defined. You feel it but you aren't really sure why.
The list of possible sources is endless, from the fear of letting others down, to the fear of making a decision.
This sensation of fear can be a whisper or a scream indicating that something is wrong, imploring you to take action before it manifests into dis-ease; mental, physical or both.
Finding the source, becoming aware of why you might be feeling this way, allows for eventual growth and healing. Mindfulness cultivates a greater knowledge of self and can reveal root causes of negative emotions.
Messages your body relays to you in images, such as in my Visual Journals workshops, can also help you unravel what is really troubling you. Awareness brings it to the surface. You can then process, release and transform that fear. As you discard one layer of malaise, don't be surprised if another one surfaces. With the right tools, and, if needed, with the right therapist, progress is made and clears the way for inner peace and calm.
DIET can also influence well being. Sugar regulation is paramount as it contributes to overall levels of anxiety and overwhelm. Any intolerance to what you ingest will also fuel these feelings. Anything that taxes your energy level and your immune health will break down your resilience and vitality. Negative emotions are magnified and become more apparent.
Finding the diet that is right for you and exploring food intolerances is a good place to start.
I was vegan for many years, eating large quantities of organic vegetables, raw and cooked, along with some low glycemic fruit. Juicing greens and carrots was a daily ritual. My protein came from legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. I omitted dairy, gluten, soy and sugar.
Despite all of the health benefits to eating this way, I noticed that something was not balanced in my body. Perhaps this was not the right diet for me.
A TED Talk by Terry Wahls, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc, changed my mind about my approach to nutrition. It was a presentation by Dr. Dominic D'Agostini that further inspired me to begin my Keto-experiment.
The Ketogenic diet is low in carbs, includes moderate protein intake and is high in beneficial fats. Its anti-inflammatory properties resulted in many positive outcomes, including a very calm central nervous system. The right diet can help quell anxiety as well as fear.
Exercise, even moderate, will help subdue overwhelm and feelings of dread. A long walk in nature is known to calm the central nervous system contributing to an upward spiral in overall health. I call it conscious walk therapy. When I lived in Venice, Italy I walked at least two hours per day. It is how one travels there, by foot. Venice offers an abundance of beauty and solace. Now, back home, I've exchanged the Calli and Canals of Venice for trails through the forests and parks of Canada. Movement helps release negativity and restores a more harmonious mind/body balance.
Spirituality, for me, is a sense of being connected to something larger than myself, identifying a sense of meaning and purpose in life. However, it is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. Having some sort of spiritual connection may help process fear. Upon rising, I take time to sit quietly. I visualize myself going through my day with joy, enthusiasm, compassion and love. I practice gratitude, mostly for the simple pleasures in my life.
All of the above modalities can also be defined as Stress Management, which in turn allows for the rest and repair response rather than the fight or flight response.
Following are just a few resources you might want to explore to help uncover, process, release and transform fear, its underlying causes, and other contributing negative emotions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Psych-K: to change subconscious beliefs. Dr. Bruce Lipton refers to this modality in his book, “The Biology of Belief”.
Emotional Freedom Techniques or Tapping (Nick Ortner)
Kelly Brogan MD, author of “ A Mind of Your Own”.
Ketogenic Diet Resource
Dr. Patricia Daly
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