How to overcome fear

There have been a couple of bomb blasts in Kampala this afternoon, and many people were injured. Reports indicate that suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the injured people and grieving families.

Naturally, people are afraid. Fear is a negative emotion and has some utility. However, in many cases, fear causes more harm than good. Too much fear can cause worry, doubt, anxiety, and depression. Fear can also prevent us from seizing the opportunities before us.

There are three primary ways to manage fear. The first is to realize that fear is a perception. Fear is rarely objective. Fear arises from our interpretation of a given fact. Yes, the bombs went off, but it doesn’t mean the world is falling apart. We can change our negative perception of an event by considering a worse outcome. For instance, things could have been a lot worse. The blasts could have injured more people. We can also look at the positive side of the situation. Many brave men and women worked tirelessly to evacuate the injured and secure the blast scenes. There is still a lot of good in the world. We should watch out for news fatigue and gross images on social media. This negative news will make you anxious and overwhelmed. Switch off the TV and focus on something more positive, like checking on loved ones.

The second way is to take appropriate action despite the fear. Terrorism works by instilling fear in the population. So we need to grieve, assist the injured, but continue to pursue our dreams. We should continue striving to make the world a better place despite all the evil amidst us. Of course, we should take precautions and follow the guidelines from the authorities.

The third strategy is to know that a higher power is ultimately in control. If you’re religious, then trust and believe that God is still in control. There are many things which are totally out of our control. So it makes no sense to overly dwell on them. Better to focus on the few things within our control. We can define our reality by choosing what to focus on. We can choose a life filled with anxiety by focusing on all the evil out there or choose tranquility by seeing all the good around us. Prayer and meditation can be an excellent exercise to control what our minds choose to see in every situation.

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