Have you ever wanted to do something so desperately, but your fears have robbed you of that joy and happiness? If you can think of even a single instance when this has happened to you, then this post is for you.
So, What exactly is fear?
The Cambridge dictionary defines fear as,
An unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen.Cambridge Dictionary
More often than not, we tend to amplify this emotion much more than it actually is. This type of amplification hinders you from living a joyful life.
And what causes fear?
Fear is the natural response of our nervous system whenever we detect danger or feel vulnerable. Fear is what helps us survive by preparing us to respond to any harm that may befall us. In moderation, fear is necessary. It is every creature’s way of survival. But when in excess, it poses more as a disadvantage.
Given that I was also on this sinking boat for a significant duration, I can definitely show you where the life jackets are!
Fear can be crippling, unpleasant, and dreadful to deal with. But with some simple steps that I will be sharing below, I am confident that I can make it much easier for you to manage your fear better, if not overcome it!
1. Embrace and accept your fears.
“Embrace your fears and understand more about them. The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.“Nathaniel Branden (Canadian–American psychotherapist)
The earlier you identify and embrace your fears, the sooner you can start working on overcoming them. This should be your first move. Fear is a natural human instinct! Accept that first. But what is not natural is letting those fears inhibit you from living your best life.
Take some time for self-introspection to understand what it is that you fear. It can be fear of heights, fear of speaking in public, or perhaps fear of failure. Make a list of things that cripple your mind and actions! Analyze what causes this fear. Is it the activity itself that fears you? or the outcome?
Once you have made a list, work on overcoming your obstacles one at a time. If talking about it to a confidant or counselor makes you feel better, do it!
2. Evaluate the rationality of your fears.
It is crucial to distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable fears. Fearing something that is unlikely to cause any harm can be considered a phobia. For instance, staying vigilant when you see an angry dog on the road is totally okay. This is our natural impulse, warning us to be ready for any threat. However, avoiding that path entirely because you might see a dog on the way is a phobia.
Once you know the rationality of your fear, it becomes easier to deal with. Rational fears are usually necessary to some extent to keep you wary of any danger that might befall you. Such fear, of course, should only help you stay careful and should not cripple you.
Please get help from a therapist or a doctor if your phobia causes you physical or mental discomfort, panic attacks, heavy breathing, shivering, and other symptoms. Remember that there is no shame in getting medical support when necessary!
3. Act it out in your head.
We often have a habit of focusing on the negative aspects of situations. If we think logically, things are not always as bad as we picture in our imaginations.
To help you conquer your fears, try to contemplate in your head the worst-case scenario. This is what helped me conquer my fear of starting this blog! I was petrified about what people would think! Finally, after avoiding dealing with this fear for 8 years, I questioned myself, what is the worst possible outcome? No one might read my blog. My friends might mock my failed attempt. And then I thought to myself, are these outcomes really that bad? Does it mean it is the end of the world? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
How will I know if I am good or bad at something if I do not even try! I finally took the plunge when I was battling anxiety and depression since I did not know anything better to do at that time.
One technique that usually helps is visualization. Every day, spend a few minutes visualizing yourself confronting your fears. For instance, if talking in front of a crowd gives you jitters, this is what you can do. Imagine stepping in front of a gathering and delivering a speech. After doing this for several days, you will notice that it no longer scares you as much as it used to before. When you feel you are ready, go a step farther by performing before a small audience in real life, and so on.
4. Challenge your doubts.
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he could not do.”Henry Ford
It is human nature to avoid situations where you know the outcome could probably be unpleasant. Avoiding something is only a temporary solution and not permanent! I know it is easier said than done, but facing our fears, is the most effective way to tackle them! Taking that enormous leap of faith is challenging yet rewarding.
Deliberately expose yourself to what you fear and do it repeatedly. Over time, you will begin to fear it lesser. You will also discover that it was not nearly as terrifying as you imagined it to be! The key here is repetition. The more you face your fears, the less frightening they become.
5. Build your fear ladder.
This is one concept that I came to know of, which I absolutely love and stick by!
A fear ladder is simply a list of the situations you are afraid of, ranked from least to most terrifying. This is the order in which you should gradually confront your fears to overcome them. Start with the first thing on your list, which would be the least intimidating one.
Keep repeating it until you are comfortable. The more you practice, the less nervous you will become. Only once you are confident about it should you move on to the next step on your list. In this way, climb your fear ladder slowly but steadily until you conquer your biggest fears!
I’d love for you to share the fear ladders you’ve constructed in the comments section below so that we all can take inspiration from them.
6. Accept the highs and lows.
Accepting that your fears are keeping you from living your best life is a challenging task in and of itself. Taking the time to read this post and attempting to figure out what you can do about it is a solid first step that you should be proud of! I want to take this moment to remind you to give yourself a pat on the back for taking this courageous first step!
While it is well and good to conquer all your fears, you must also accept the harsh truth that not everything and everyone can be perfect. Sometimes it is okay for things to go awry. Make peace with the fact that everything cannot be under your control.
Do not be too hard on yourself. Know that overcoming your anxieties is a journey, not a one-step cure that will make all your fears vanish overnight. You should be prepared for ups and downs along the way. Overcoming your fears may well be a grueling journey, but I promise you it is also the most rewarding!
7. Do not be ashamed to make mistakes!
This is one thing that almost all of us are guilty of. It is not the task that we fear, but the outcome! To err is human! Mistakes are what make us human and not robots!
What if I make mistakes? What if people make fun of me? These questions torment us and deter us from even trying in the first place!
You need to understand that nobody is or can be perfect. Do not chase perfection! The sooner you try, the sooner you make mistakes, the quicker you learn and progress in life! As simple as that! Do not shy away from making mistakes.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”Theodore Roosevelt
8. And most importantly,
These are a few things that I like to highlight in practically every one of my posts. I do so because they are indisputably the most fundamental! A healthy mind and body are essential for achieving anything in life.
- Exercise on a regular basis! It has been found to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety.
- Consume nutritious and wholesome foods daily. A well-nourished body is vital for a healthy life.
- Maintain a healthy sleeping pattern. You can’t even think of conquering your fears with a sleep-deprived mind and body, given how fidgety and cranky your mood will be!
- Don’t forget to be grateful. Practice gratitude. Take a minute to appreciate what you ARE capable of rather than focusing on what you cannot do!
- Practice mindfulness and meditation. It helps you face your fears while also enhancing your overall quality of life.
I realize this has been a lengthy post, but each point made was equally essential for you to know. I hope these steps help you conquer all your fears so that you live the life you always dreamt of living! A life, free of unwanted worries! A life filled with joy <3
If you have any more suggestions for overcoming fears, please let us know them in the comments. It would be fantastic to share with the rest of the community so that we can all grow our confidence together!