Do you know how to deal with fear? Personally, I have lived what seems like a lifetime learning how to deal with fear. One of the undeniable facts of the human condition is fear. Everyone is afraid of something and some people are afraid of many things.
Having been homeless and starting my life over many times, I needed to learn some strategies to deal with fear.
Over time our fears often evolve and sometimes, unfortunately even grow. For a time, I couldn’t take action because I was afraid that I would screw up. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid that I couldn’t do it. Whatever “it” was… Fill in the blank.
The point is, I needed to learn to deal with fear so that I could move beyond my circumstances and grow.
A few of my children were afraid of the dark. I have known many adults who were afraid of embarrassing themselves in public speaking. For me, I have been stuck and afraid of taking chances that would shift my life in big ways.
You may be surprised that most of our fears are learned.
Humans become addicted to their feelings, are you addicted to a particular fear?
What have you learned to be afraid of?
Tips to deal with fear:
- Gain an awareness of the undeniable truth and a new understanding. Determine why you’re afraid. If you’re afraid of falling to your death while standing at the edge of a cliff, your fear might be justified. You would need to begin evaluation is required. If it’s just your ego talking, you know that the fear isn’t in your best interest. That’s the fear that keeps you in your current situation.
- Re-frame any situation and create a positive outcome. The fact that you’re physically uncomfortable doesn’t have to control your thoughts or actions. When you’re feeling anxious, take that as a sign that something great might be getting ready to happen. Step outside your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunity. It’s true that you will need to have some internal dialogue as you are feeling this anxiety, say to yourself “get control and relax”. In this moment you are more than likely growing. We get those little butterflies in our stomachs when we are excited or anxious. Really hone in on the positive aspects and expand on any part of it that is positive and watch yourself grow out of a potentially awkward and uncomfortable situation.
- Use your fear to your advantage. It’s a good thing, not something to be avoided. Embrace it. Fear is just another way to gain strength in a situation use it as a tool!
- Make a list of all of your fears. You’ll notice a pattern. It might be a fear of embarrassment, success, or becoming isolated. By understanding the core of your fears, you can better deal with them. When I did this, I found that most if not all of my fear was related to doing something that would potentially put me in front of others. I liked being unseen but yet yearned for fulfillment. You cannot have both. This was a really helpful exercise. I was afraid of networking, talking to people, any sort of public speaking or speaking in a group of three or more. Talking to new people was difficult and certainly standing up for myself was a major problem. How about you?
By addressing the core issue, you may be able to eliminate many of your fears at the source.
Recommended reading… Fearless Living Series No.03: A Confession, I’m Paralyzed With Fear
- Use fear to propel you forward. The most successful people throughout history have been those that faced fear successfully. Each time you conquer a fear, it makes you stronger and more capable. You are literally creating a new, more powerful you! It’s exciting to know that the next fear that you face will be even easier all because you are practicing how to do it. Defeating a small fear makes the more significant fears more manageable. The confidence you gain can be applied to all areas of your life. Imagine your confidence increasing as you see how you are better able to address fear head-on!
- Use fear as an opportunity to practice relaxation techniques. Public speaking is my opportunity, what’s yours? You might absolutely detest dinner parties, but honestly these opportunities are your chance to work on your conversational skills, but you must be mindful. Each time that you are feeling fear, or know about an upcoming opportunity of feeling fear, you have the chance to practice relaxing. Focusing on breathing slowly and think positive thoughts. Anxiety induced by fear is nothing to take lightly. So get really good at taking deep breaths as your new relaxation techniques to help deal with fear.
- Recognize that fear is self-induced. Remember, everything is perception and more than likely your fear is merely a perceived threat and not real. It’s only your perception of the event that creates your fear. And fear is just a feeling and with practice your feelings can be contained. Self-induced fear at times do include physical symptoms, but it’s a feeling nevertheless.
More strategies to help you deal with fear…
- If your life isn’t at risk, your fear is just a feeling. When you can realize this fact, you’ll also realize that all of your other feelings follow the same rules. If you can make yourself feel bad, you can make yourself feel good, too. Use this knowledge to ask yourself key questions like “are there people successfully doing this thing I fear?” More than likely, there are people doing what you are fearing so you know that you can do it once you get your feelings under control.
- Use fear to enhance your self-control. Fear occurs when your brain tries to stop you from doing something. It makes you uncomfortable until you run away from the source of your fear. Once you have identified that there is nothing truly to be fearful of, use the opportunity to exercise your ability to push through the anxiety.
- Discipline is the ability to do things you don’t feel like doing. You don’t need discipline to do the things you enjoy. Does it take discipline to eat a potato chip? No. It takes discipline to stop. You need discipline to face your fears. Begin cultivating it.
- Get the support that you need in times you feel over your head. Perhaps you need help getting over deep-seated fears. Like moving into a new relationship after dealing with an abusive spouse, you may need to seek professional help so don’t be afraid to do that either. There’s probably a good reason why they’re deep-seated. Use your fear as motivation to get help. You might find you need help with a few other mental health issues too. Getting help for your fear could help you move forward with a myriad of new benefits. Ironically, I was afraid to even do that! Shocking, I know.
Fear isn’t something to be avoided. Use fear to your advantage. Fear is a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself. Fear can also be used as chance to grow on a personal level. If you’re not afraid, you’re not living.
I have learned how to deal with fear, how about you? In the end, I found that facing my fears have made me stronger! What do you fear that you need to move past? Leave your comments below, I think it helps people feel “normal” when they see others facing the same struggles and how they overcame them.