A study released last week revealed that Americans are faced with an increasing number of things to be afraid of, and there’s a direct correlation to the unprecedented level of access we have to the media. In other words, what the media reports and how they deliver it is directly affecting what we fear and just how afraid we are. In the study, Dr. Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology, discovered that the recent presidential election and its subsequent policy changes have caused a dramatic shift in what Americans report being afraid of. In previous years, governmental corruption and not having enough money to care for ourselves ranked high. Now, healthcare, an environmental crisis, and the potential of a third world war are climbing into the top five list of what we’re most anxious about—all of which had not been in the top ten list of concerns just a year or two ago. “We are beginning to see trends that people tend to fear what they are exposed to in the media,” Bader said in a university news release. “Many of the top 10 fears this year can be directly correlated to the top media stories of the past year.” While what we’re afraid of is of interest, how we develop these fears is the real key to gaining control over them. This study demonstrated how the stories the media reports are turning into what we fear the most. We’re giving control of our fears to the media, which in turn makes us feel powerless because most of what we are afraid of are things we have no control over. This causes stress, and we already know that stress negatively affects our lives and harms our health. A better solution is to empower ourselves by focusing on positive thoughts that lead to positive actions, so we are giving attention to what we DO have direct control over. Positive thinking often starts with positive self-talk. This is the stream of unspoken thoughts that run through our heads. Some of it arises from logic, but the majority of it arises from information being fed into the brain through what we see and hear. If thoughts and information tend to be mostly negative, we are likely to experience the fear that comes from feeling a lack of control over the world we’re living in. Fortunately, there are solutions to keep you from falling prey to fears and anxiety that aren’t serving you. It’s important to focus on identifying the areas you need to change. What are the things you’re afraid of and do you have any direct control over them? The answers to the latter question are almost always “no,” which means you can take control by changing your internal self-talk. Evaluate the thoughts you’re thinking and the feelings you’re feeling. If they’re primarily negative, you will need to practice placing a positive spin on the events in your life. Start by turning off the TV and limiting your exposure to the never-ending supply of news. Next, surround yourself with optimistic people and positive messages. Finally, mentally rehearse positive, optimistic thoughts and behaviors. This may take a conscious effort on your part at first, and while it sounds like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Visualization and relaxation such as what you achieve by braintapping can help you quickly and naturally change the negative effects of fear in your life into positive, empowering messages. A great place to start is the BrainTap Life Mastery series where you’ll learn the powerful secret to self-talk, how to create powerful, positive change in your life, and how to eliminate negative thinking and harness the power of optimism. The BrainTap audio library has hundreds of sessions that can help you release your fears and live your best, most positive life now–and it’s all at your fingertips. Best of all, you can Get a FREE 15-Day Trial today!