Let’s Talk About Dread, the Sniveling Cousin of Fear

How to overcome dread | #anxiety #fear #takeaction

 

Dear friends,

I’ve never really paid attention to the feeling of dread, but it’s with me more often than I’d like to admit. Perhaps you, too, are familiar with this gloomy emotion that can feel like a pesky, insistent dark cloud.

This year I’m working my way through Joyce Meyer’s wonderful daily devotional, Love Out Loud. Earlier this week, her reading was about dread, a relative of fear that holds us back. “What is the point of dreading something we have to do?” Joyce wrote. Great question.

Since dread may cause us to procrastinate or experience unnecessary stress, I’ve been trying to examine when and why it shows up my own life.

Things I Dread

A situation where I don’t feel in control. It might be going to a party where I don’t know many people, or imagining worst-case scenarios when a loved one is traveling, or waiting for the results from a medical test.

An uncompleted project. Doing the taxes. Finishing the writing of an article that doesn’t feel like it’s flowing. Tackling a disorganized garage.

A future discomfort. A mammogram. A root canal. A colonoscopy.

A tough conversation. Asking for a raise. Working through a conflict. Talking about finances.

5 Ways To Overcome Dread

These are some practical strategies to chase the dark clouds away:

1. Become aware. If we recognize when we’re feeling dread and can sit quietly and face it, we may lessen its grip. Deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness exercises are all ways to become more present and examine what we’re feeling and why.

2. Pray. This verse is a good, simple prayer that always helps my brain and soul return to a calmer place: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLV)

3. Take one action. For me, facing the task and doing something is often the thing that brings relief. If the task is especially dreadful, I turn on my timer and tackle it for 10 or 15 minutes. Just getting started helps.

4. Laugh. I love the phrase “comic relief.” Laughter always helps me put things in perspective. (Dave Barry’s article about his colonoscopy is a must-read.)

5. Talk to a professional. If anxiety feels like it’s becoming excessive or turning into a daily problem, a visit to a counselor or health care provider may be in order.

How About You?

Are there things in your life that sometimes cause you to feel dread? Do you have any strategies to add to my list? I always love hearing your perspective and ideas.

You might also enjoy reading “Microburst Your Way to Success,” about how 15 minute bursts of focus can help us accomplish great things.

Here’s to less fear and more peace in the days ahead,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Dread, the Sniveling Cousin of Fear”

  1. I dread really difficult event photo shoots, like a graduation of 5,000 college students I shot last month. I make triple sure I think of every possible scenario, bring way more gear than I need, ask tons of questions of my client, and lose quite a bit of sleep. I have learned this is the process, including the sleepless night, I have to go through. And in the end, all of the prep work makes the shoot a lot easier. I find that dread is just a part of the process.

    Reply
    • “I find that dread is just part of the process.” This is a brilliant observation, Povy. You’ve learned to harness a positive aspect of dread and use it to be well-prepared. Thanks for sharing this. (I can NOT imagine a photo shoot with 5,000 college students. You are amazing.) xo

      Reply
  2. Oh yes… the dreaded dread monster! For me, it’s projects where I’m doing something out of my comfort zone and I’m afraid I’m going to really mess it up. I feel physically nauseous throughout the whole ordeal and generally have to talk my way through it… like talking out loud to myself to gear up to face it and then the whole way through I say things like “It’s OK. Remember to breathe. You can do this. If you break it you can always call in a professional.”

    But now that you mention it… today I replaced a light fixture. This is not something I’d done before and normally it would have completely filled me with dread. But for some reason, it didn’t really feel like that big of a deal today. Honestly, it seemed like the easy way out compared to trying to fix the old one! I don’t know what it means, but I’m gonna take it as evidence of progress! 🙂

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  3. When I have something to do like an unpleasant phone call or task, I set a time frame for it. At 11:00 I will make my call or 11:00 is my appointment time with the weeds. I also include it on a list of things I want to accomplish that day. Of course the dreadful thing is always left to last, but crossing it off a list gives you satisfaction that you have accomplished something.

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