Fear can be a good thing. In the early years of humanity, it protected our ancestors from saber-tooth tigers. It encouraged them to run, fight, or hide in order to save their lives. Fear is a natural and helpful feeling. It’s also one of the strongest emotions that we can experience, so strong that it can be paralyzing. I’ve felt that level of fear once or twice, and boy, it’s a doozy!

If fear has snuck into your mind it can be really hard to stop thinking fearful thoughts. But there is one quick and easy way to switch off fear. Gratitude.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this concept before because it exploded into public awareness with the movie The Secret. But, considered how this nifty little trick might help you stop being afraid of whatever you are afraid of {rejection, intimacy, imperfection, failure, success, not being good enough…and on and on}.

Here’s something to ponder. We know that the part of the brain that experiences gratitude is not the same part of the brain that experiences fear. When the part of the brain that experiences gratitude is switched on, then the part of the brain that experiences fear automatically switches off and vice versa.

Here’s the thing about fear. Despite all your inner strength and determination, it can be difficult to simply stop thinking fearful thoughts.

The truth is :: it’s much easier to start thinking grateful thoughts. The good news is that when you start thinking grateful thoughts, the fear switch in your brain turns off, causing the fearful thoughts to disappear.

And that, dear reader, is one strategy that can free you from fearful thoughts.

In case you’re not familiar with my work, know that I love experiments! So, here’s an experiment for you.

Every time you are stopped at a red light, think of at least 10 things that you are grateful for. Start off generally. This can be as simple as your heart beating, your lungs breathing, the sun shining, or the clouds raining.

Once you’ve mastered this step, turn it up a notch and list all of the things in your day that you are grateful for :: things like your little munchkin’s wrapping his arms around you for your morning hug, your Barista whose kindness makes your heart tingle, or the magic of having cleaning running water in your home.

As you exercise the gratitude muscle in your brain, it will become stronger, and as it becomes stronger, it will be something that you know you can rely on when those fearful thoughts try to push their way back into your mind.

The final step of this experiment is to exercise your gratitude muscle when fear is trying to sneak into your life. As soon as you feel the niggling sensation of a fear thought trying to make its way into your mind, instantly reach for your gratitude thoughts and see what happens.

And, just like all good experiments, take note of your results. If it works for you, great!  If not, I’m sure I’ll come up with another experiment that will help, so stay tuned.

If you want your question answered next time, send me a note.