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The Power of Doing Something Scary

We are not talking about horror movies, but the everyday experiences that scare us. We all have a different tolerance for scary things. For some of us, answering the phone may feel very scary and for others, sky diving feels a little scary. There is no judgement as to what activity feels scary because our past experiences have shaped, scarred, and curated a worldview particular to our individual psyche.

For example, if we had several years when we couldn't pay the bills and had collectors calling all the time, it would make a lot of sense that picking up the phone would feel scary.

If we had a bad car accident on the highway, it would make sense that every time we drive on the highway, we are scared.

In the photo, I was doing my scary thing for the day. I was scared because I didn't have control over the audio amplification and wasn't sure how the crystal bowls would sound on the huge stage speakers. I was hopeful, but didn't know if the speakers would be able to convey the nuances of the bowls' sound and maintain the integrity of the experience. I stand behind these little healing power houses and if it sounded terrible, my credibility would be at stake. Good news: they sounded great and I learned a lot, including ways to help them sound even better.

So why would we choose to do things that scare us?

1) We build capacity and resilience.

2) We "update our operating system" and are able to function in new ways. We use this turn of phrase in our schools program because we humans are pretty familiar with how computers work. We know that when we update our computer's operating system, they work faster, have new tools, and we can view things in a new way. Our brain is the same. Whenever we behave differently or have a new experience, our operating system gets updated and we have coded a new way of being.

3) We build our confidence because we know we are capable of overcoming fears.

4) We learn more about ourselves and unlock strengths we never saw before.

Five tips for doing something that scares you every day:

1) Start small. Don't jump out of an airplane tomorrow. Doing little things that scare us make it easier to do the big things.

2) Respect healthy boundaries for yourself and others. Make sure your "scary thing" doesn't hurt or scare someone else.

3) Follow your discomfort. For example, if calling a family member or client feels really uncomfortable, that's a sign that it'll be your "something scary" for the day.

4) Respect your physical limitations. Don't run a marathon without training. Listen to your joints and breath. If your cardiorespiratory system hasn't been challenged in a while, start with walks and slowly pick up the pace or make them longer.

5) Respect your triggers within reason. We don't want to live as prisoners of our trauma. Ideally we can heal and overcome our triggers. However, don't push yourself to do something that is triggering, and then find yourself 20 steps backwards in your healing. Take some time every day to heal those interoceptive networks of the brain with some breathwork and other healing practices like sound baths and classes.

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