How To Identify And Overcome FearWhen we experience fear, no matter what it is, our body perceives a real and present threat or danger - even if there is none. Most of the time, we fear things that haven’t even happened and often will never happen. Fear can be paralyzing, and it can fool us into thinking that our feelings are actually correct. While it might be normal once in a while to fear something, you don't want it to control your life. Whether it’s a fear of public speaking, seeking out a new job, getting married, or really, anything else. Whatever it is that scares you, the following 12 steps should help you conquer your fears!
Acknowledge Your Fears
Before you can do anything about overcoming your fears, you have to become aware of them. Acknowledge that they do exist. Don’t try to avoid or run away from them – this will only further propagate the fears. Once you can admit to yourself that you’re afraid, you can then start to work on overcoming these fears.
Question Your Fears
Next, to acknowledging the existence of your fears, you have to actually gain a clear picture of them. What are you so afraid of? What’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you? Write these things down, but look at them objectively. Write a single paragraph of what that fear is, why it exists, and possibly where it stems from. Do this so that you can further move it out of your subconscious mind and into your conscious mind.
Understand The Root Of Your Fears
One of the best ways to get over a fear is by finding the root of why you're feeling these emotions in the first place. When you begin to trace back the origin of your fears, that’s when the real transformation begins. Trace back the emotions. Why do you feel angry, sad, or scared when you’re in a fearful situation? What’s the true origin of the fear? Every fear-associated emotion can be traced back to a point in our lives. Sometimes, these emotions are associated with our childhood, before we were conscious of thoughts or memories.
Identify The Emotions Associated With Your Fears
Once you’ve painted a clear picture of your fears, identify all the emotions associated with them. Do you feel angry? Or sad? Do you feel physically sick? How does it make you feel? It’s hard to relive your fears consciously, but it’s an important step in the process. By identifying all the emotions associated with your fears, you can better understand the ones that are fueling those fears.
Detach Yourself From The Emotions
Once you’ve identified the emotions associated with your fears, you have to detach yourself from them. Admit that you’re powerless over the emotions, but detach yourself from identifying with them. For example, if your fear makes you feel sad, instead of saying “I’m sad,” say “I’m feeling sad.” When you do this, the emotion will pass, but your identity will remain intact. You won’t be the sad person anymore, you’ll be a person that feels sad.
Gratitude is a powerful way to overcome fear because it makes you focus on the things that you do have, rather than living in fear for what can be taken away or happen in your life. Fill your heart with gratitude for even the simplest things in life. The air that you breathe, the food on your plate, the ability to read or speak a language – appreciate everything! When you focus wholeheartedly on gratitude, little by little, over time, your life will transform.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Learning to breathe from your belly is a powerful way to calm and center yourself, no matter what’s happening around you. When fearful thoughts come, close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep belly breaths. Inhale slowly for the count of five, and exhale even slower for the count of seven.
While doing breathing exercises is a great way to calm down, being mindful every day will allow you to be more attuned with your thoughts and emotions. Spend 5-10 minutes every day, being present with whatever is happening. Focus on the world around you. Use all of your senses to take in the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures. The more you practice, the easier it will become to use this technique, to remind yourself, in fearful moments, that right now, everything is okay.
Visualize Positive Outcomes
When you're pondering over your fear, instead of thinking negatively, visualize a positive future. This will help change your perspective, so you don't have to fear anymore. Visualize the positive outcome you want to see happen, and take some action in that direction.
Motivate Yourself Through Self-Talk
Remind yourself that your fears are there to help guide you. You can start moving in the right direction by setting a plan of action and talking yourself through it. Self-talk can be tremendously helpful during these times. It's important to give yourself credit for challenging yourself, and to remind yourself that you CAN get through this!
Talk About It
Sometimes, we just can’t do it by ourselves. We need the support of others. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone who can offer guidance, there’s nothing wrong with that. And although your ego might seem bruised at the moment, it will be thanking you after the fact. As human beings, we rely on the love and support of others around us. Others can help put our fears at bay and give us a further perspective from the outside looking in, which can often make all the difference in our lives.
Face Your Fears & Take Action
Taking action can greatly reduce one's level of fear. And the only way you're going to overcome a fear is by actually facing it, and doing something about it. Just remember a time when you were afraid of something, and you did it anyway! Conquering a fear takes a lot of work, but if you're truly determined to overcome it, you will.
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What are some of your fears? Have you taken any steps to overcome them? Let me know in the comments below!
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