By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Under stress, humans may revert to primitive defense mechanisms.
These are undoubtedly stressful, uncertain times. Would it be wonderful if we knew what to do and how to get control of our lives back? Some of the things people do to cope with uncertainty can be helpful. Efforts to control the uncontrollable can hurt you and damage your relationships. Have you moved into any of these unhelpful ways of coping with uncertainty?
When under stress, some people freeze. They’re unable to act. Other people flee or run away from their problems. People who are full of fear become irritable and are more likely to get into both verbal and physical fights. As the fear levels have grown through the recent Covid-19 pandemic, fights both verbal and physical, have increased.
Have you gotten into fear? Is it damaging your life?
Here are some of the ways that fear may be taking over your life, damaging your relationships, and impairing your mental health.
Do you try to control everything people around you do?
Micromanaging, checking every possible thing people around you do, can give you a false sense of security. Trying to control the things your family does can result in damaging relationships. Micromanaging at work can interfere with getting the job done. The more effort you put into controlling other people, the more out of control your own life can become.
Taking over the tasks of others may keep you busy and distracted from your fears, but trying to reestablish a feeling of control by doing everything alienates others and put you at risk of burnout.
Constantly seeking reassurance interferes with taking action.
Continually seeking reassurance from those around you makes you seem needy and helpless. Do you repeatedly ask family and friends what you should do? Do you check and recheck articles online? Is your time on social media crowding out the rest of your life? All this effort to reassure yourself you’re making the right decision will interfere with your ability to ever decide. Don’t let your fears of uncertainty keep you paralyzed with indecision.
Have you become a chronic procrastinator?
Procrastination is a way of not making a choice. If you procrastinate long enough, you’ll never take action. When you’re faced with a decision, do you try to put that off as long as possible? Procrastinating uses up a lot of your time, and there may be penalties for failing to do what you should have done. Don’t let fear rob you of your ability to decide.
Do you recheck everything?
Rechecking some things may be necessary. But if you develop the pattern of chronically rechecking everything, your fears are destroying your self-confidence. If your need to recheck is out of control, you may be developing a mental health problem known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD should not be confused with having the desire to have everything the way you want it. Once you’ve developed OCD, you find you can’t resist checking. If your fear has resulted in rituals, checking everything a particular number of times, it’s time to seek professional help.
Have you become a chronic worrier?
Worry has its place in our lives. Worry in its milder form concern is the habit of re-examining what we are doing to make sure we plan for significant risks. Useful worry is sometimes called “good enough worrying” you worry about high probability events and prepare for them.
Chronic worriers adopt the worry model of worry about every possible outcome. If you choose this model, there’s no end to the worrying. No matter how remote the possibility, you still need to worry about it. Have you stocked up on garlic in case of vampires? Chronic worrier’s take things to extreme lengths in the belief that if they worry about everything, they will prevent bad things from happening. Worrying doesn’t stop them from happening. Taking action and preparing for potential emergencies does help.
How have your fears been ruining your life?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.
What if your family secrets put you in danger?
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.