If you’re anxious in your sleep, you may have a dream that you are falling. In dreams you can take nagging anxiety and turn it into fear. We do the same thing when we’re awake. We feel that nagging anxiety and we think of a situation to fear. Those situations are the circumstances of our lives. There are billions of circumstances in our lives. There is always one available for us to focus on and make some fear.
If we are having problems thinking of something to fear, people around us or the media will suggest lots of frightening options. It is nice when we can place our fear on an object in the near future. Then we can feel extra worried about it until it passes and we are relieved of our fear. We get a break. It is nice when we fear something that is within our control. Then we can do something about it. We can study for a test or run from a bear.
Fear always has an object. Anxiety just churns away. Making fear gives anxiety an outlet. Although it can temporarily relieve anxiety, continually making fear reinforces anxiety. When we recognize that anxiety is a part of life, we can see our fears as expressions of our anxiety and objects of our awareness. We can use that awareness to help make peace. We can recognize fear and then confront the underlying anxiety, feel what it feels like, and breathe with it to invite some peace.
If you have a test, study. If you see a bear, run. If you feel fear, be aware of it and make peace. Fears may keep bubbling up out of the depths of anxiety, but as you practice watching the fears emerge, you can see where they come from and make some peace.