Eight Powerful Ways to Overcome Fear
Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success, or even fear itself. 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 working toward our dreams. While some fear is built in as an evolutionary tool to help us run from hungry predators, be wary of potential real-life dangers, and to keep us alive and safe, it can manifest in ways that hinder us from living our most extraordinary lives.
While our modern world doesn’t require the same fight, flight, or freeze responses that our ancestors needed to survive, procreate, and evolve, there is no shortage of anxiety and fear-producing events in our modern world.
However, I’m not talking about very real fears or true trauma, today I’m talking about those fears that we build up in our own minds that hinder us from asking for a raise seeing a promotion, or trying a new adventure.
Fear can hold you back forever, but you don’t have to let it. There are several ways to overcome fear, here are my top 8:
- SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION – Ask yourself what is really going on, locate the facts and place them over your feelings. For example, I have a very real fear of heights. However, I want to climb mountains, not just figuratively, but literally. I love being outdoors and I love hiking. Some of the most beautiful vistas are seen up high. Therefore, I work on separating reality from perception. I perceive some climbs as “higher” or unsafe, but by looking up data the reality is that most of the hikes that I want to attempt are actually quite safe.
- IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER – Figure out what it is in a situation that triggers you. Learning to identify it will help you learn to combat it. Get used to learning to name your fears. This in and of itself helps. Be mindful of what sets your body and mind on high alert. Are you fearful of failing in launching your business because you are afraid of how others will perceive you? Is it the failure or the perception of others that trigger you not to try?
- KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY – Game-changer here, get really good at describing where the physical sensations live and how they feel. Instead of running from the fear, I’m going to ask you to lean into it. A lot of times, fear takes over physically. It affects different people in different ways. Identify if/how it affects your physical body and do the work to take care of your body. Ex: if you hold stress in your back, you can learn stretches, foam rolling, etc. to avoid the pain.
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE – Every day, list out 1-3 things you are thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, gratitude helps shift the mind into a positive light, which over time helps to overcome fear.
- LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE – Monitor your inner conversations. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Speak positively to yourself and remind yourself of your strengths. Remember that the inner mean girl doesn’t pay rent, learn to stand up to her and kick her out. It’s not always easy, but continue to practice reframing those negative statements with positive words.
- CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION – Remind yourself that the feeling and the moment will pass. Focus on the positive outcome of the situation, rather than the scary in between. Or start to look at the fear as a feeling that helps to make you energized, and excited, and learn to work through those feelings in a way that leads to feeling empowered. 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. This won’t happen overnight; practice with just one thought. What is one recurring negative/fearful thought you have? Work on reversing this one thought. Over time, this will become a habit
- PRACTICE BREATHING EXERCISES – Breathing helps center your body; when you stop breathing, your heart stops beating. You can do a grounding exercise, or even just take 5 deep, long breaths at any point to calm and center yourself. It is best to start your day with this, but feel free to practice all day long. It all comes back to our breath so practice this often so that when the fear strikes you can have this very powerful tool in your arsenal. Need more information on breathing? Check out this article on one of my favorite techniques; box breathing.
- CREATE A SANCTUARY – When you feel safe and secure, there is no room for fear. Find somewhere safe you can retreat to when ill feelings begin- whether this is a real place such as your bedroom, or a place in your mind such as the beach. This sense of comfort will soothe you and allow you to face your fear.
Please keep in mind, that these are just 8 strategies, not everything works for everyone. But this is a place to start. Start implementing these techniques into your life and don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and your highest potential this year!