If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by fear, you’re not alone. And if sometimes it prevents you from doing the things you want to do, believe it or not, you’re not abnormal. This is a common problem faced by many people daily.
Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful. A lot of people I talk to confess to facing this culprit every now and again, and a lot succeed by shutting him/her up in order to progress with their goals. Easier said than done, ey!
What people sometimes fail to realize is that fear is nothing more than a conditioned response. It’s a natural reaction to a frightening or unfamiliar situation. While it is usually automatic, there are things we can do to overcome it.
- IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER
Why do you have those fearful thoughts? How often do you have the thoughts? When you’ve answered this, isolate the specific aspects of the situations that trigger your fearful thoughts. What’s the worst that could happen? Change the way you look at these triggers and you will immediately change the way you react.
- LISTEN TO YOUR INNER TALK
One major contributor of fear is the frequency of negative expectations. Monitor your inner conversations. Do you usually find yourself expecting the worst in every situation? Do you worry obsessively about what could go wrong, rather than focusing on your strengths and capabilities?
If yes, you need to make a conscious effort to expect the best, or see the positive side of each situation and keep reminding yourself that you can handle more than you often think. In so doing you’ll find yourself with much less fear to deal with. Even if feelings of fear do manage to creep into your consciousness, you’ll still be able to keep them in perspective and balance them against an underlying sense of confidence.
- DISCREDIT YOUR FEARS.
Experts say the majority of things we fear will never come to pass anyway. While this may be true, it sure doesn’t feel that way when you’re in fear! However, if you look a little more closely at your fears when they arise, you may be able to dismiss at least a few.
E.g, if you have a fear of public speaking and your boss wants you to give a presentation at work, you might feel like your life (and perhaps your livelihood) is on the line. You may fear getting fired, or worry that your colleagues will lose respect for you if you don’t do a good job.
But is any of this likely to happen? In most cases, no. Rather than worrying about what “might” happen if you don’t give a solid presentation, you might want to brainstorm ways to help improve your performance, such as being well prepared, practicing your delivery on friends and family members, writing notes to yourself and so on.
- SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION
See the reality of the situation for what it is. Be rational and get clear on the facts. Soul search and explore your perception of the situation at hand.
- BECOME AN OBSERVER
When you observe something, you do it from a detached place. So if you become an observer of your fear, then you’re not in it and reacting instinctively.
- KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY
Be in tune with where your fear lives in your body. Use it as an indicator to tell you when something needs to be addressed. What you are aware of you can act on.
When you feel fear, conjure up a picture of something or someone you love. Keep repeating this and soon your brain will associate your fear trigger with something much more pleasurable.
- CONSIDER THE WORST
Imagine the worst that can happen and come up with strategies that avoid or lessen the likelihood of it happening. What can you put in place to ensure that the worst-case scenario never happens? OR if it happens, how can you lessen the pain?
- LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL
Perception is a very powerful thing. And how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success.
- DO THE VERY THING YOU FEAR
When you remember that fear is simply a feeling, it loses much of its power. It can’t harm you and except in truly threatening situations you can choose to ignore it and move forward anyway.
If you weigh the pros and cons in any situation, you may decide that the possibility of negative consequences is minimal so there’s nothing to stop you from ignoring your fear and going for it! This will be determined by you on a case by case basis, of course. The point isn’t to become reckless with your decision-making but rather to empower yourself to know when a fear is groundless and easily overcome.
- MAKE IT SAFE
Fear happens in the emotional part of the brain, it’s natural to act instinctively. So when fear rises, break the fear cycle by stopping, creating space and breathing. This will give you time to calm down and allow your rational brain time to catch up.
When you feel safe, there is no need for fear. This is one of the best ways to overcome fear – creating the safest environment possible. And that’s why it’s important to practice, practice and practice again.
To Summarize: Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and highest potential this year. Stay motivated. Change the way you think.
If you’d like some extra support and inspiration check out my post on 10 Empowering Beliefs That Make Me Strive
Do you find yourself living in fear sometimes? Can you relate to any of the above ways to keep those fearful thoughts at bay? Would love to hear your thoughts/comments.