Spiritual Practices Can Offset Fear

Aside from the exhilarating adrenaline rush we get while riding a roller coaster or the gasps and giggles that happen from the safety of our seat while watching a scary movie, it’s likely we would rather avoid being frightened if we could. Let’s face it—fear can be a very scary thing!

It’s also quite tricky. What terrifies one person might not even register for another, and things that make us tremble at one point in our lives will probably seem silly looking back on them years later. Put all that together with the fact that what helps one person get over their fears may be entirely ineffective with another, and we might feel our own anxiety about helping others face things they would rather avoid.

Thankfully, resources abound to help us, and there are plenty of overall guidelines to provide a firm foundation.

One of the gifts of Unity is its practical, accessible spirituality. The tools it provides to create our best lives are incredibly valuable resources that are always there to help us through any challenge. With these principles, we begin to understand that the beliefs we hold can either reinforce our fears or help us to release them.

We also know—and can begin teaching our children right away—that God isn’t some being with superpowers sitting on a cloud somewhere tossing challenges and tests into our lives. God is within all things, even those we fear. God is the very essence of who and what we are. No matter where we are or what is happening, God is right there within it, right there inside us—ready, willing, and able to guide us through.

First, a couple of pointers:

  • It’s not helpful to try to push children through their fears or tell them to get over it. Understanding, compassion, and patience are keys to success.
  • Poking fun at someone for being scared adds a layer of stress and dread to something they already feel they can’t deal with. It may also increase the time it takes to face and overcome fear.
  • Some fears are age-specific—like separation, darkness, and monsters—and will disappear with communication, education, understanding, and time.

Some power tools to help:

  • Give children tools to empower themselves. Scared of the dark? Provide a flashlight, nightlight, or lamp within arm’s reach. Confidence builds when we feel we have some control.
  • Keep media age appropriate. Movies and shows have ratings and warnings for a reason.
  • Communication is key. Carve out some time to talk it all through. As we explore issues thoroughly, we often find correlations between things children have seen or experienced and the things they have come to fear. An image from a random show may morph into a scary creature in a dream, or a life event may create a new anxiety. When we spend time in conversation with open-ended questions, we are likely to discover the seed that blossomed into the growing fear.
  • Prayer is powerful, and spiritual practices are great gifts. Simply taking a deep belly breath and pausing to center in the presence of God can stop terror in its tracks.
  • Keep it moving! Regular exercise is imperative to overall health and well-being.
  • Find the flip side. If you hear your child saying they are afraid, invite them to reframe the thought and affirm that they might be scared, but they’re also brave. Repeating, “I am brave” and standing in a Superman pose can completely change their outlook. They aren’t denying they are afraid; they are reinforcing their strength.
  • Celebrate! Even small steps forward are still forward motion, and honoring each step helps children see they are making progress.

A Prayer for Facing Fear in All Children

As I center myself within the divine energy present in every breath, I feel my heart open, and I focus on the love I have to give. Envisioning that love as a warm, fluffy, comforting blanket, I visualize all the world’s children wrapped inside its soothing, strengthening expanse. I send them all strength, wisdom, love, comfort, and peace. I allow that energy to expand outward until the blanket of love covers all.

A Shared Family Prayer for Facing Fear

As we join together, hand in hand and heart to heart, we call on love. We call on peace. We feel our own strength, and we send that strength to every child around the world. We see them loved. We see them having all the strength they need to face and overcome all fear, and we are grateful. Together we celebrate, as we say amen.

Together we affirm:

Did you know? All children are welcome to pray with Unity Prayer Ministry associates.

Call for Prayer:


Write for Prayer:

Unity Prayer Ministry
1901 NW Blue Parkway
Unity Village, MO 64065

About the Author

Trish Yancey, LUT, CSE, serves as spiritual leader at Unity of Sebring, Florida. She is the author of The Heart of Prayer and other books for children.


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