A scary monster!

Facing Fear And Not Letting It Ruin You

Last month I talked about 5 tips for working out what to do with your life and making a big change with Radio Verulam.

This month I wanted to talk about what gets in the way: FEAR.

A few weeks ago someone asked me ‘Aren’t you scared about opening up your new Salon and Spa‘ – well I was fine until that point!  It put me into a bit of a tailspin for a couple of days I can tell you.  Since then I’ve seen a lot of people wreck or nearly wreck opportunities/jobs/relationships because of fear.

You can listen again to Danny Smith’s show <here>

The most important rule is NEVER MAKE A DECISION BASED IN FEAR – it’s bound to go wrong.  You need to get the fear under control before you make the decision.


Why Do Something About Your Fear


A scary monster!
A scary monster!


Obviously fear isn’t all bad, it releases adrenalin in our bodies and helps us to run away from baddies.  Plus it can be really fun; hence the kids love Halloween.

But it also has a huge amount of downsides:

Fear Of Decisions:

Worry about making the wrong decision paralyses us into doing nothing, when there could be something that we could do to resolve the problem. Problems don’t go away if you ignore them!
Or maybe there are so many options that we just feel too confuddled and bemused; I certainly had that when faced with all the choices of nails we could offer at the salon.
Or of not making an immediate decision/reaction, which makes us run around fire fighting like headless chickens, when a few moments of calm thought would have a better solution.

Fear Of The Unknown:

Fear of difference creates death and war, when thinking about it would help us realise that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean that we will ‘catch it’ or that they are judging us.  So many times mums who gave their babies formula react the minute I say that I breastfed, before they even know if I’m judgemental about it or not; it’s crazy.  And don’t get me on religion – argh!

Not knowing what’s going to happen is really scary, wether it’s pain, where a spider is going to go, or in my case soup (why are people drinking something that you eat is beyond me!).

Fear Of Not Being Liked:

We will always fail at this one, as only half the world can like you; but there will always be people who DO like you.  I’ve already (only 2 weeks in!) had someone be a bit mean about me due to the new salon.

Fear Of Death or Loss:

This is totally understandable, and also unavoidable.  But the problem is that this fear will push people away as well.  On our salon wall we have the saying “It’s not about the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”.  This won’t make loss easier, but it helps so that we can enjoy what we had and the time that we still have.


Recognise It

Fibro fog
Picture from Craig Martin Illustrations

Recognising when the fear hits is half the battle.

It’s that stressed out fear, when your head starts to make up stuff about what could happen or what is happening.  The thoughts start to run around and around and around in your head.  This is when you start thinking things like:

Everyone hates me.

I’m sure that person thinks xyz about me.

I’m going to fail.

If I don’t do xyz, then the whole world is going to fall apart.

What happens if <some awful thing> happens.

The funny thing is that often it’s not true.  Especially when it’s down to what people think about you.  But it WILL become true if you keep thinking it.  The problem with fear is that it makes people behave strangely, and then people will react to you and then it REALLY goes wrong!

For instance, one of the questions that I asked my hairdressers in their interviews was ‘Whats’ the worst haircut you’ve ever done?’.  What I wanted to know was wether they had just packed the person off out the door, or wether they had the guts to face their mistake and deal with it.  I know that that I can walk up to one of my lovely girls and ask her to just take a little more off my fringe, and that she won’t react as though I’m saying ‘that was an awful cut’, when all I’m saying is ‘could you take a little more off?’.  I just need to know that I can ask her and that she isn’t afraid.

How does it make you feel?  Do you start to feel anxious and get palpitations?  The fear of the panic is often worse than anything else isn’t it?

Think about all those times when you’ve been ruled by fear and write down all the ways to recognise it in yourself, so that you can get better and better at it.

For me, I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed and things just don’t flow the way that they normally do.  I start thinking things like ‘I MUST advertise everywhere’ and wanting to make rash decisions.  There is a panic and a rush to it all.  Which is very different from the times when my thoughts flow fast, I’m in the zone and amazing things happen coincidentally/serendipitously that mean that changes happen fast and easily.


What to do

Look at things

1) Write down all your fears and why they are scary.

It’s never as scary when you actually face it and write it down.  Before that you are just scared and that fear is running around in your head.  Once written down it is less scary.

Plus it means that you can look at the fear and think about wether it really is as bad as you think.

Write down all your thoughts.  Then have a look at them – are they REALLY true?  Can you prove them?  Why are you scared of it?  What is the worst case scenario?

Also, you are more likely to sleep that way and then you will feel better in the morning.  Everything is better with sleep (see my tips here).

I did this for my fear with the salon.  When I thought it through the worst thing that could happen is that I could lose all my money and be a bit of a laughing stock for opening up a Salon and Spa in a recession.  There would be people who would probably be a bit gleeful about it – I’ve already met a few likely candidates for this.  But at the end of the day I would still have my family.

With your children or loved one, don’t just dismiss their fears.  Let them explain them to you and talk them through so that they feel heard.

2) BREATHE in through your nose and out through your mouth

Breathing in through your nose calms you down much more than breathing in through your mouth.  Once you calm down you can start to regain control of your body and see the options that are available to you.

Remember to eat too – everything is worse on an empty stomach!

3) Avoid things or people who make it worse

If you can’t deal with scary stories don’t read the Daily Mail.  If one of your friends freaks you out all the time, don’t see them as much.  Avoid googling things if you don’t think that you can deal with what you find; ask someone else to do it instead.

4) Plan of Action

Once you know what your fears are you can make a plan of action.  Even at if the worst possible outcome happens, there will be something that you can do.  Ask a friend to help you – one who is pragmatic, calm and practical.

5) Phobias

I really recommend therapies like EFT or Hypnotherapy if you have a phobia.  You don’t have to be limited by these fears forever, and there is often a reason for it, even if it isn’t obvious (I think my soup phobia is pretty obvious – my mother’s cooking!).
What’s your worst fear?  Do you need any tips for dealing with it?







Where to go for help with stress: A summary of different therapies


So, you are stressed, unhappy, discontented, dis-satisfied, miserable, unhappy, overwhelmed, down, depressed; and it’s been a while.

Your body is now rebelling and you are getting problems with your sleep, stomach, memory, exhaustion and aches and pains.

You’ve read all my stuff about what stress is with some hints and tips on what to do.

You’ve checked out my favourite books for when you feel overwhelmed or depressed, including mine.

But you need some outside help from a professional, so where to go?

I’m going to give a brief introduction to some of the therapies that might help.  They are all my views, based upon my experiences, so some people may disagree!  However, the idea is to have a look and see which ones jump out to you as suiting you.



Who are you ?
Who are you ?

Available free from NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face.

But takes a long time.

Basically the idea is that you talk about stuff, so that you can dig down to find out ‘why’ you feel the way that you do.  It is really useful if you aren’t sure why, and for some people just understanding can shift the problem.

The downside is that for others, they just get stuck deeper in the story of their lives and become more of a victim.


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Available free from the NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

I love CBT, it’s what got me interested in personal development in the first place over 20yrs ago.  It helps you to tackle the thoughts that are running around in your head and look at life a different way.  The idea is that by behaving differently we will get a different outcome from situations.

I think it is quicker, but maybe less deep and therefore if you don’t understand much about your thought processes/past it will be difficult to use it to get over bigger problems.  Plus, behaving differently doesn’t always make people react differently.



Tends to be private and ranges from cheap to very expensive.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

A coach is more focussed on the present and giving you goals that you can aim for and less about trauma’s from your past.

Be careful and thoroughly check their training and experience, as currently there aren’t any laws about who can and can’t call themselves a coach.

Some people use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) in the coaching, to help you.  Simply put they look at how your language affects your mind and therefore your behaviour.  I personally find it a little too orientated towards the mind.  I prefer a more intuitive approach with a more feeling/heart centered objective.  It can feel very manipulative, but it is’t without merit.



Normally private.  Starting to get more expensive probably £60 or more.

But quicker.

You MUST get a well trained, well experienced hypnotherapist.  But if you get one, this can be a quick method of going into the past and working out what is causing your pain and then dealing with it.  Make sure that if they ‘remove’ a negative habit that they replace it with a positive alternative.


tapping points
Picture from Nick Ortner

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Private.  But can be cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

I suspect the usefulness of it depends on the experience and intuition of the practitioner and how comfortable you feel with them.

EFT has been around for a while, but I didn’t become interested until recently.  I think that it has settled down now and is a very well established option.  The idea is that by discussing our problems whilst tapping on certain meridian points (energy points in the body), it reduces how upset we are about it, then we will be able to see things differently and find a new way of seeing our life or tackling the problem.  It can be very light e.g. just looking at a headache, or go deeper into why.

The great thing is that you can learn it yourself and therefore also use it at home for smaller issues.  I really recommend Nick Ortner’s book ‘The Tapping Solution’.


Kinesiology Based Therapies

Private.  Much more expensive.  But much quicker.

I learned a form of kinesiology 10yrs ago (Resonance Repatterning) which is very quick at dealing with people’s problems (I used to specialise in serious mental health issues).  The body has a muscular on/off reaction which you can use to check what beliefs and problems you have.  It’s great because it bi-passes your opinions and the potential biases of the practitioner, to make sure that you actually get to the ‘real’ truth really quickly.  Then a healing technique will be used to ‘shift’ the problem and replace it with a more positive option.

There are several different options, some more structured than others.  It can be a bit wacky, but very effective.



Normally private (dieticians might be free).  Mid-priced around £60

It’s amazing what physical problems and some emotional ones can be resolved with the help of a nutritionist (better than a dietician in my opinion) or naturopath.  The naturopath training is longer and more rigorous, but they are also more likely to suggest bigger changes to your patterns and they can suggestion supplements and herbs to help you out as well.

Never under estimate the power of a simple supplement, mineral, vitamin or herb.  In fact if you start to take a few, I would recommend checking in with a professional to make sure that the combination you are taking is OK.




Private.  Often after a long initial session, they can help you quickly and you only pay a small amount.

I’m a big fan of homeopathy, but it hasn’t worked well for me so far.  You get a little sugar pill that is meant to redress the balance in the body and can help with emotional, mental or physical problems.

Herbalism has helped me a lot and is of course where modern medicine started.




Private.  But normally cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

Reiki is a lovely form of hands on healing where the practitioner gently touches or hovers their hands just above the body.  It can help physical, mental and emotional problems.  I became a ‘Reiki Master’ 13 yrs ago – it’s not that clever actually, it basically means ‘teacher’.  I LOVE Reiki for it’s simplicity.  But be warned, some of the people who do Reiki are mad as a box of frogs (in the nicest way!) and although it has improved, there is no standard teaching, so some people mix in other alternative therapies e.g. crystal healing and all sorts.

Please don’t jump to learn it straight away – take some time out for yourself first.  If you do learn it, remember to focus on just yourself and your family first.  Don’t run off to heal the world!

There are also other forms of healing.  Some people are just ‘natural’ healers, i.e. they are born with or got the ability to give healing to people.  Others are ‘spiritual healers’, which means that they believe they get help from other spiritual beings.


Physical therapies

Private.  Can be cheap if you find someone local, but expensive in salons.

E.g. Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu Massage, Bowen Technique, Chiropractor, Osteopath

You could easily get a lovely therapist to give you a massage or reflexology session, talk through your worries and get a lovely relaxing treatment at the same time.  This is a very viable alternative and helps support the body while you are stressed.



Demartini Method – this was the final therapy that I learned (I’m a senior certified facilitator).  It tends to be more expensive, but very transformative and is based upon the healing power of gratitude.

Meta Medicine – a great method for discovering hidden reasons or potential events that had a hand to play in physical illnesses.

The Work of Byron Katie – A very simple method with just 4 questions, that you can also read about and use in your own life.  I find that one of the questions reduces about 80% of my stress levels.



My advice is that we ALL need OUTSIDE help from time to time and sometimes our friends and family are not the right people to help us.

However, it would be unwise to ALWAYS rely on outside help as that doesn’t help to improve our self-esteem and sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

When picking someone to work with, they need to be strong enough to challenge you a little, otherwise you won’t be able to break out of your patterns.  However, you need to have a good rapport with them and feel very safe and certain of them – that is probably the most important thing.

You are also looking for someone you appears to be pretty sorted, or at least more sorted than you are in the particular area of life that you are struggling with.  It’s fine if they have experienced the problem, it’s just that you want them to be past it!

Another ‘rule’ is not to ‘overwork’ yourself.  So don’t have a massage in the same week as a therapy session etc.  Always leave time for you to adjust after a session.

I hope that this gives you an nice easy introduction to some of the options, therapies and alternative treatments that are available.  You are very welcome to tweet/facebook me for more information or if you hear of a therapy I haven’t mentioned.

Have you used any of these?

Did you find them useful?