10/08/2014 12:24 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2014

Face Your Fears


Halloween is right around the corner, folks! Stores have been filling up with pumpkins, cobwebs and candy corn, chatter has begun about Halloween plans, and I know that many of you have probably been planning your Halloween costume since Nov. 1 of last year.

Amongst the fun, this time of year can ironically be, quite literally, a scary one. School is back in session, decisions for the coming year are beginning to be made, and we are facing the inevitable post holiday blues in a few months. On a personal level, maybe you're afraid of that major deadline. Maybe your son or daughter has a surgery coming up. Maybe you are reconciling with the mortality of your parents. Or, maybe you're simply overwhelmed, nervous or afraid for what the future might hold. Whatever it may be, fear is a huge part of being human. Whether they are long term or just blips, our fears can be all consuming.

But fear doesn't have to define us. In fact fear, if processed and understood can have positive effects on our lives. Facing our fears can be a great way to build strength and self-awareness. Acknowledging fear as a part of life and re-routing fear into other emotions can also open us up to more experiences. Fear can be the fire you need to get something done or the influence to make a change. Think of fear as a mask you can wear. It may cover your face, but underneath you're still you. Only you have the choice in what this mask is, if it is something debilitating or useful. And, with the right perspective, that mask can even be beneficial.

So, in the spirit of Halloween, here are a few ways you can re-think that mask and make FEAR afraid of YOU!

1. Own Up: Acknowledge that you're afraid and verbalize it. I spend a lot of time in my NaliniKIDS classes teaching students to search for the words that best define or correlate to their current emotional experiences. Often times, just being given the permission to share is all they need to find a bit of peace. I believe we adults need to do the same. Spend some time writing down what scares you in a journal. Try to pinpoint whether each fear is long term or fleeting. Then, say them out loud. Sometimes, just acknowledging your fears can dispel them. If you're still getting the creeps, saying your fears aloud allows you to hear what scares you from your own voice, making them tangible and thereby important and worth working through.

2. See Fear as a Solution Not a Problem: Now that you know what you're afraid of, change your perspective on fear to a positive one and re-route your energy. For example, I have a friend who is terrified of flying. Everything about it from the height to the speed to the small space of the airplane gets her skin crawling. While she may never NOT be nervous on airplanes, that shouldn't hinder her excitement to travel and see new places. She loves seeing the world and every time she gets on a plane she tries to channel that fearful energy into excitement. For her, the plane ride is only a small part of a larger journey. Try turning those fear jitters into excitement and enthusiasm. If we begin to see fear as a solution or a steppingstone as opposed to a problem in our lives or something we can channel and work through, we can face anything that comes our way!

3. Kick Fear in The Butt: Keep yourself moving! I never condone violence but sometimes we have to be aggressive to get our fears out of our way! Maybe you need to get all of that frenetic energy out on the basketball court or in a kickboxing class. Maybe you need to busy yourself with other things. This step is totally up to you and should be special and individualized. Once you've spoken your fears out loud and seen them as a solution kick that last smidgen of fear out of the way with something else! (Suggestion, sometimes a good evening with friends or family can be a great remedy!)

Fall is a season of change and Halloween is a holiday that allows us to step outside of ourselves. So, instead of wearing a mask of fear to hide this year, take control and try it on. Embrace the mask of fear; see fear with a new perspective. Fight and face fear with your words, your mind and your body and I promise you will only get the heeby-jeebies from that very realistic zombie costume your neighbor made this year!