Face It | managing fear

Whenever I stand at the threshold of something daunting I feel my heartbeat accelerate as I sense fear trying to talk me out of taking that next step. In these moments I imagine something serene, and I focus my energy on it until my moderate heartbeat returns.

Face It by Jennifer Trijo

My cousin took a photograph of Jasmine’s face which looked so tranquil. I immediately wanted to sketch her expression when I saw it. I will store it away as one of the images I will use to calm me in moments of anxiety. I’ve titled this piece Face It.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt famously stated. When a challenge presents itself, I do not wish to shy away from it. Instead I will use my mind to break it down into achievable parts and be mindful about my heightened emotional state.

When I was in school, I took part in competitive sports, swimming, and athletics. I remember how I used to feel right before I’d dive off the blocks before a 50 metre freestyle race. I’d get butterflies in my stomach and my second toe in my foot would cramp up. I’ve been known to swim with a cramped toe and it’s not a pleasant feeling. Later in my life I retrained myself to run medium distance, between 10 to 21.1 kilometres. I completed my first half marathon a decade ago and I felt very accomplished because I never believed I could go the distance.

It feels like time slows down when I’m mindful. Everything feels less frantic and I can focus on my task. When I dial down the emotion I can often see things more clearly, my limbic system is tamed and my prefrontal cortex can do its job. If I work on any challenge in bite-sized parts then it no longer seems insurmountable, it is just the sum of smaller challenges.

Published by Jennifer Trijo

Jennifer is the founder of The Serenade Files, a resource for creative entrepreneurs. Her published work has appeared in Limelight Magazine, AussieTheatre.com, Australian Teacher Magazine, and Social Alternatives Journal. She holds a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education (UNSW), Certificate of Journalism, and a Diploma of Business Management via scholarship. She is a singing tutor for the Bachelor of Music Theatre course at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, an actor at ActNow Theatre, and a musician in the Nexus Arts Orchestra. Jennifer is a versatile performer with over 20 years of professional experience in the creative industries. She has recently toured as part of the cast of Once the musical, Australia, and has written and performed a critically-acclaimed original show for the Adelaide Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe Online titled Someday - a Mindful Cabaret.

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