Fear is an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling triggered by the perception or assumption of real or imagined danger. Fear takes over our lives, gets the best of us, and influences many of our decisions. It could be the fear of making the same mistakes from your past, the fear of failure or success, of what people will say, the fear of the unknown, or even the fear of fear itself.
We were born with only two innate fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds, however, we have also learned and developed the fear of many things at different times in our lives. Fear can be a major stumbling block that holds us back from being all we can be and truly successful. So here are my top 9 tips for overcoming fear.
Separate assumptions from reality
Be at the moment and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is going on right now?
- Am I currently focused on the past, present, or future?
- What do I have control over?
- Can I change the past?
- What can I learn from this past fact that will help me grow?
- Can I influence the future without making the right decision at this moment?
- What decision(s) must I make now to influence my future?
Then act based on these facts garnered. Remember: don’t assume.
Identify your triggers
- Why am I really afraid?
- What exactly happened?
- What triggered the fear?
- What am I really afraid of?
- Am I really afraid of what I think I’m afraid of?
- So, what am I really afraid of?
Be aware of what triggers your fear. Identify this trigger and learn how best to overcome it.
Know where the fear is in your body
Fear affects us in different ways – emotionally, psychologically, and physically. To overcome fear, you must become aware of how fear affects you physiologically. This level of awareness in your physical body helps you provide the care that your body needs.
Although fear is emotional and psychological, it often represents itself physiologically. Some grind their teeth, clench their fist, hold stress in their neck or back, and feel very tense when they’re afraid.
To overcome the physiological representation of fear, reverse your physiology. That is, stop grinding your teeth, free your jaw, free and flex your fingers, relax your neck and back muscles by adjusting your poise, do some stretches and focus on your breathing to stay calm and focus on a time you were on top of your game. Understand that your mind and body are the same systems, you can access and change your mind, by altering your body.
Practice gratitude daily
During difficult times, and even at all times, gratitude is important. Gratitude can help us cope with traumatic and fearful events, regulate negative emotions, improve our well-being and transform our lives.
To benefit from the power of gratitude, just like everything else, you have to build your gratitude muscles through daily practice. So develop the habit of writing a gratitude list of at least 12 things you are thankful for in your life each day. It doesn’t have to be the big things, be grateful even for tiny things, and everything about your life. Fear dwells on the negative, and gratitude helps shift your mind from negativity into positivity.
Listen to the message fear is delivering
Sometimes it’s a very helpful thing to know that fear is a messenger trying to call your attention to something, or working with your subconscious mind to keep you safe and free from harm. At other times, fear can become a barrier that keeps you stuck. Oftentimes, fear triggers the response reactions of freeze, flight, fight, and so on, all geared towards your protection.
So, if you suddenly feel fear when called to do a public presentation, pause and ask yourself what that feeling may be trying to tell you.
- Are you unprepared for the presentation?
- Is this presentation in your area of weakness?
- Is the time too short for you to deliver a great presentation?
Identify the message in the fear and focus on addressing it.
Change your focus
Understand that bad experiences are temporary, not permanent. Remind yourself that the feeling and the moment will pass. Focus on having a positive outlook on the situation.
Perception is powerful, and how you see your situation dictates how you feel and respond to it.
Calm your Nerves Using Breathing Exercise
Breathing helps center your body and reduces anxiety. When you are afraid, you become anxious, stop breathing and your heart beats faster. You can do breathing and grounding exercises by taking inhaling and exhaling slowly. Start your day with this and practice it all day long.
So, do this when anxious and in fear:
- Lie down, sit comfortably, close your eyes and allow yourself to remain calm.
- Gently close your mouth and breathe in through your nose while counting to 6.
- Breathe from your diaphragm, don’t fill your lungs too full of air.
- Inhale for 6 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds, allowing your breath to enter and leave your body slowly and gently.
- Continue for up to 4 times.
Also, incorporate the practice of yogi breathing, including nostril breathing and the lion’s breath in your breathing routine from time to time.
Try to create a safe environment for yourself
When you feel safe and secure, there is no room for fear. Find somewhere safe you can retreat to when you start having negative feelings. It could be a physical place like your bedroom, or somewhere within you like a happy thought. This sense of comfort will soothe you momentarily.
Meditation helps to overcome fear and anxiety by interrupting thinking patterns that trigger stress. Wherever you are, and at any time, you can practice meditation by sitting or lying down, all that matters is that you can relax your mind.
You can choose to listen to calming recordings or music while relaxing your body and steadying your breathing. While meditating, breathe calmly, visualise yourself relaxed and stress-free. Meditation helps you gain control over negative, limiting, disempowering, and intrusive thoughts that trigger anxiety. It can also help you establish new thinking patterns and habits.
Please keep in mind that not every hack will work for everyone at all times, but this is a good way to start. Start implementing these techniques and don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and your highest potential.