Stopping Fear and Dread in Your Life


Like a shadow, the presence of dread is so familiar, so commonplace that it is rarely seen or acknowledged for what it is.

As the sun rises, the mind awakens from it’s deep sleep. During the night, the mind spoke the deep thoughts of the subconscious in rhymes, riddles and symbols. Emotions were amplified and appeared larger than life.  The “release-valve” of disturbing dreams, was opened and the subconscious mind ‘screamed’ of it’s private contents which had been pushed deeply down during the day by being ignored and not dealt with.

This shadow of dread walks with us when we are unaware. We speak of it in terms of “should” and “need to” and slowly but surely, a quiet pressure builds in intensity in our hearts and minds as we move through out our day and it invades our dreams at night. How many times have you bolted upright in the middle of the night with your heart pounding and in  intense fear, and not remember what dream triggered it?

The emotions of the night are larger than life, and even though you’ll logically know that it was “just a dream” you are still in its throes, and sometimes, during the day, it follows you … as the shadows of dread gain strength.

“It’s the bills” you reason, or “It’s just the stresses of life,” you say, as you dismiss the mounting pressure on your heart.

The phone rings …. “It’s that woman!” you say to yourself as you DREAD picking up the phone. Or, “it’s that bill collector!” you shout– instructing your child or spouse to tell them that you aren’t home.


Fear and dread … go hand in hand. If it were a marriage, you might call them Mr. Fear and Mrs. Dreaded Fear.

Why are they so present in our lives? Why do we allow them such free reign?

To understand this … think about the triggers. Perhaps they appear as

  • I dread it when I hear from that person …
  • I dread going there …
  • I hate (dread) having to do this …
  • I can’t stand it when (dread) these things happen …

Here’s a hidden formula for you. “I dread” or “I hate” or “I can’t” are self focused. This is you … reacting emotionally to something or someone else. Held captive by what you perceive this person or thing to represent in your life, it shows up as a threat to your peace of mind.

This person or thing, which we have named “Dread” … is in control. It is in control because you are experiencing a negative emotion towards it. That negative emotion sucks the life out of you – and makes you weak. It is a form of bondage – you are being held captive, or are a slave … or victim … to it.

The item, the person, the event, that caused that emotion is just a person, a thing or an event. It is a threat that you PERCEIVE.  The meaning that you put to the person, item or event contains the power to set you free … or hold you captive.

This mental state of mind, in the negative, is called a “victim mentality” and it makes you weak mentally, physically, and emotionally. It perceives the threat as a captor who is in control, who will punish, and who will steal from you.

Dread … is the physical and emotional response to the perceived presence of your captor.

In order to eradicate dread from our lives and to eliminate this dark shadow from our days, we must identify the source. It is the perceived meaning of something or someone.

In a nutshell, you’ve given up the control of your peace of mind, your finances, your time, your resources or talents – to another person, place or event. Keywords: “you’ve given up” …

You gave permission to that perception to dominate you and cause fear in your life because of what you think they represent. (It’s all an illusion)  That illusion (or the meaning you put to it) is in control – not you.

To regain control of your life and your peace of mind, you must re-order your thoughts. Taking control of your mind and how you perceive life, is absolutely vital to living a life of peace and prosperity. Ordering your mind takes back your authority, and puts you literally in a different frame of mind to not only live your day in peace, but to expect a peaceful state of mind every day after.

Here are some examples of flipping your mental switch and stopping dread and its companion, fear:

Dread says, “I hate it when the bill collector calls”  (paralysis)

Peace says, “I’m so thankful that they have provided me with a service that makes my life easier and more fulfilling. (instant energy switch) Let’s see what we can negotiate so that I can pay them what I owe them. (action step)

 Dread says, “Oh no, it’s that person, calling again.”  (paralysis)

Peace says, “I’m thankful they are in my life, because they are teaching me something no one else could. (Instant energy switch) It’s time to set boundaries.” (action step)

Dread says, “I hate this place, every time we go here it brings back bad memories.”  (paralysis – brought on by the meaning put onto an inanimate object)

Peace says, “This is a place. I’m thankful I’m on the other side of the events that taught me something I would not have learned other wise. (energy switch) Now I will put new meaning to it and either move on, or celebrate something new here.” (action steps)

By consciously noticing our thoughts, feelings, reactions, emotional state of being, and our internal chatter, we move from being victim minded to becoming responsible minded.

The place of responsibility is a place of empowerment. We are restored in our energy and purpose and make better decisions from this place. No longer thee slaves of fear from a paralyzed victim state of mind we have the ability to see things as they truly are, and make informed decisions based upon that knowledge. Having control of our thoughts gives us the authority and strength that we need to determine our day and to fill it with peace.

Watch your dreams at night change – as you live your days wide awake, taking responsibility for what you think and how you change the meanings of people, places and things that are in your life. Live a life of thankfulness consciously.

Shannon Parish is the Founder of Sarah’s Tent and President of Living Stones Center. She is an award winning cartoonist and graphic recorder who, after more than thirty years of ministry and as a Life Coach utilizes her artistic talent to teach and Illustrate You.

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