You cannot be in fear and gratitude at the same time.
In his book, What Happy People Know, Dan Baker states, “It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”
Fear is a powerful emotion and when it shows up, it brings with it a host of other negative emotions including anger, anxiety and doubt just to name a few. They may not all show up but some combination of them does and the end result is you don’t do the thing you know you need to do.
Gratitude changes all of that. Gratitude is the antidote to fear because it grounds you into the present whereas fear has you imaging how bad things are going to be in the future. Gratitude anchors you to the here and now, which often, helps clear the fog created in your mind by fear.
Here are 4 other reasons I believe gratitude is the antidote to fear.
Fear robs you of joy; gratitude increases joy
When you’re in fear, you spend your time imagining all the terrible things that can and, as far as you are concerned, surely will go wrong. You are in a constant state of imagining worst-case scenarios. When you are feeling fearful, you cannot access joy.
Gratitude, on the other hand, helps you find joy in even the smallest moments of your life. When you are focused on gratitude you are more present and able to see the beauty unfolding around you. You notice the things that make you happy and you give yourself permission to fully experience those things.
Fear shuts you down; gratitude opens you up
I know this to be true from personal experience. When I am in fear I notice I don’t want to be around other people. I would much rather stay tucked away in my own little shell rather than connect with others. When fear shows up and I choose to give into the fear I shut down. I feel myself withdrawing away from life and the people I care most about.
In contrast when I’m actively expressing gratitude, I feel myself open up to life more. I am more trusting that things will work out in my favor, even the difficult things in life. Gratitude pulls me out of my self-imposed internal prison and I experience life in more meaningful ways.
Fear stifles sorrow; gratitude holds space for sorrow
We fear sorrow; believe that if we allow ourselves to feel it the sorrow will overtake us. Believing that we have to keep it all together, we fear losing control. We imagine being unable to stop crying or being too sad to face another day. We tell ourselves stories about why we can’t possibly allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling.
Like all emotions, even the ones perceived as negative, sorrow has to be felt. It cannot be stifled or you run the risk of numbing all emotions, even the good ones. Gratitude holds a sacred space for sorrow, allows it to be expressed in a way that feels safe, nurtured and loving.
Gratitude makes sorrow less daunting to walk through.
Fear paralyzes; gratitude energizes
Fear will keep you stuck. It will stop you dead in your tracks convincing you of the reasons why going forward is the absolute worst thing for you to do. Fear creates a story about all that will go wrong and convinces you that staying where you are is best even if where you are is slowly killing you.
When in gratitude, opportunities open up before you. You see things you didn’t see before, ideas come that you never imagined before, and you suddenly you are inspired to do what you never thought possible before.
Gratitude energizes you to chase the dream, reach the goal, or make the change. Gratitude paves the road to you becoming everything you are capable of becoming.
I want to support you in releasing your fears and embracing gratitude as a way of life. For the month of November, I am hosting a 30-day Gratitude Challenge. It takes 21 days to form a habit. My hope is that come November 30th, you and I will have cultivated a habit of expressing gratitude leaving no room for our fears to have control. Click here to learn more and to sign-up.
Here’s to you embracing gratitude, releasing fear and rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you’re tired of your fears getting the best of you and holding you back and you’re ready to do something about it, join me for the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. You can also click here to schedule a complimentary call where we can explore what it would look like for you to take fear out the driver’s seat of your life.